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HBcAg (nuclear staining pattern) in liver. Image provide by Jim Burchette, HT(ASCP).

HBsAg (cytoplasmic staining pattern) in liver. Image provide by Jim Burchette, HT(ASCP).

Hepatitis: Viral A, B, and C

Hepatitis A, B, and C are caused by viral infections.
Hepatitis A is found in feces and is commonly contracted by eating or drinking food or water that has been contaminated. There is NOT a vaccination available against hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B is found in blood and body fluids and is commonly contracted by health care workers who are exposed to these fluids. Health care workers may contract the disease through an occupational exposure to a needle stick or sharps. There IS a vaccination available against hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C is also found in blood and body fluids. Similar to hepatitis B, hepatitis C can be contracted through occupational or recreational exposure to needle sticks or sharps. There is NOT a vaccination available against Hepatitis C.
Blood (serologic) studies can detect hepatitis A, B, and C so a liver biopsy is rarely taken when the blood test reveals evidence of these infections. Liver biopsies are commonly obtained only if liver enzyme blood levels do not return to normal in six months or if there is evidence of liver failure. Most often, a liver biopsy is performed on patients with hepatitis B and C to assess the degree of liver damage evidenced by fibrosis, demonstrated by the trichrome stain.