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Discover the untold facts about Hepatitis and gain a comprehensive understanding of its causes, symptoms, and treatments to protect yourself and your loved ones.

USMLE Guide: Hepatitis

Prepared by Medical Experts for usmle step 1


Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver, often caused by viral infections. The USMLE Step 1 exam may include questions related to different types of hepatitis, their etiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management. This guide aims to provide a concise overview of hepatitis for USMLE Step 1 preparation.

Types of Hepatitis

1. Hepatitis A (HAV)

  • RNA virus transmitted via the fecal-oral route
  • Acute infection with no chronic carrier state
  • Vaccination recommended for at-risk individuals
  • Clinical features: fatigue, anorexia, nausea, jaundice, dark urine, pale stools
  • Diagnosis: Anti-HAV IgM antibodies in serum
  • Management: Supportive care, vaccination

2. Hepatitis B (HBV)

  • DNA virus transmitted through blood, sexual contact, and perinatal exposure
  • Can cause acute or chronic infection
  • Associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
  • Clinical features: similar to HAV, also includes arthralgia and rash
  • Diagnosis: HBsAg, anti-HBc IgM, anti-HBs antibodies in serum
  • Management: Acute - supportive care; Chronic - antiviral therapy, liver transplantation

3. Hepatitis C (HCV)

  • RNA virus transmitted through blood, often due to intravenous drug use or blood transfusions
  • Most cases progress to chronic infection
  • Leading cause of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and HCC
  • Clinical features: often asymptomatic, chronic infection may present with fatigue and hepatomegaly
  • Diagnosis: Anti-HCV antibodies, HCV RNA in serum
  • Management: Antiviral therapy, liver transplantation

4. Hepatitis D (HDV)

  • RNA virus that requires HBV co-infection for replication
  • Transmission similar to HBV
  • Can cause acute or chronic infection
  • Clinical features: similar to HBV, but more severe and increased risk of fulminant hepatitis
  • Diagnosis: Anti-HDV antibodies in serum
  • Management: Prevention (HBV vaccination), supportive care

5. Hepatitis E (HEV)

  • RNA virus transmitted via the fecal-oral route, often associated with contaminated water
  • Usually self-limited, but can be severe in pregnant women
  • Clinical features: similar to HAV
  • Diagnosis: Anti-HEV IgM antibodies in serum
  • Management: Supportive care, prevention of water contamination


Hepatitis encompasses several viral infections that can cause liver inflammation. Understanding the different types of hepatitis, their etiology, clinical features, diagnosis, and management is crucial for the USMLE Step 1 exam. Remember to review each type's unique characteristics, transmission routes, diagnostic tests, and appropriate management strategies.

For a more comprehensive understanding, refer to reputable textbooks and online resources recommended for USMLE Step 1 preparation. Good luck with your exam!

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