Chronic hepatitis can be hidden, lifelong infection

November 1, 2005

HEPATITIS B AND C are serious viral diseases that can lead to lifelong infection, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and death. They often produce chronic, hidden infections. An estimated 1.25 million Americans are infected with hepatitis B, and about 30% of them have no signs or symptoms. An estimated 2.7 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C, and about 80% of them have no signs or symptoms. Both diseases are transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids.