Hepatitis A is the milder form of hepatitis, which rarely causes death or lasting damage to the liver. Most people with hepatitis A recover in a few weeks or months. Hepatitis A, like hepatitis E, is transmitted through contaminated food or drinks, but is preventable through immunization. In 2016, there were just over 2,000 cases of viral hepatitis A infection in the U.S., with the state of Hawaii reporting by far the highest rate of hepatitis A infection of any other U.S. state. At that time, the rate of death for hepatitis A was only 0.02 per 100,000 population for both males and females. However, the rate of death from hepatitis A increases with age.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through infected blood and other bodily fluids and is therefore commonly passed through sex, the sharing of needles, or from a mother to her child. A vaccine for hepatitis B does exist and infected adults usually recover from the disease within a few months and are immune to the disease afterwards. However, hepatitis B can cause cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer and can result in death if left untreated. In 2016, there were around 3,200 cases of hepatitis B in the U.S., with the state of Florida accounting for 558 such cases, the highest number of any U.S. state. The death rate from hepatitis B is low, but is slightly higher among males than among females. Furthermore, the death rate is significantly higher among Asian/Pacific Islanders than it is among any other race or ethnicity.
Hepatitis C, much like hepatitis B, is spread through infected blood. There is no vaccination for hepatitis C and, although in some cases it only lasts for a few weeks, it can also develop into a life-long chronic infection that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. In 2016, there were just under 3,000 cases of acute hepatitis C infections in the U.S. However, during that year, viral hepatitis C caused over 18,000 deaths. Acute hepatitis C requires no treatment, but chronic hepatitis C is treated with several different medications. Hepatitis C medications have changed and improved over the years and it is now predicted that, due to increased screening and the availability of new treatments, around 267,000 liver-related deaths due to hepatitis C will be avoided by the year 2050.