Hepatitis B and C are viral diseases that affect the liver's functions including detoxifying the blood, preventing bleeding and storing energy. Often times, those with hepatitis don't realise that they are infected as the symptoms of fever, chills and fatigue may mimic the flu. The symptom that may alert one to disease in the liver is jaundice or yellow eyes.

Hepatitis B infection is contracted by contact with bodily fluids of someone with the infection. Hepatitis C is contracted by contact with the blood of someone infected. After the acute infection, symptoms will resolve, and many patients will develop immunity to these viruses. Some patients, however, do not become immune and develop chronic disease. If left untreated, these chronic infections may cause chronic liver disease and damage, renal disease, blood problems, skin disease, joint pain or swelling, cirrhosis and liver cancer, all of which are life-threatening.

Fortunately, over the last few decades simple and effective oral medications have been developed and trialled, and have proven to be effective in controlling these infections. As an infectious disease subspecialist, your physician may prescribe antiviral drugs for either hepatitis B or C, as well as medications to protect the liver and reduce the risk of liver damage.