HBV is the most common type of hepatitis virus in the world. It is very infectious. HBV infection is more likely to cause symptoms than HCV. HBV infection can cause flu-like symptoms and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice). Most people recover completely from HBV infection within a few months and develop lifelong protection against it. Only about 10% of people have persistent infection and become chronic carriers of the virus.
Hepatitis is infection or inflammation of the liver. It is most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are 6 types of hepatitis viruses – type A, B, C, D, E and G. Only hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause a long-term infection that increases the chance of developing the most common type of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). The risk of developing liver cancer is even greater if people are infected with both hepatitis B and C viruses.
HBV and HCV infection can also cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). Cirrhosis of the liver also increases the risk of developing liver cancer.