Hepatitis B infection does not cause symptoms in about 50% of the infected cases. These people may never realize that they have been infected. Symptoms after infection are more likely to occur in adults rather than children. Those who show signs and symptoms usually do so within 1 to 4 months after exposure to the virus. The initial symptoms are non-specific and often similar to flu.
Some common symptoms of hepatitis B are:
Other causes of liver infection such as acute viral hepatitis due to hepatitis A and hepatitis C have symptoms that are identical to those of hepatitis B.
Fulminate hepatitis: Some people with hepatitis B infection develop a severe form of acute hepatitis that can be life-threatening if not treated without delay. This type of hepatitis is known as fulminate hepatitis and it is fortunately rare. Symptoms of fulminate hepatitis develop very abruptly and progress rapidly. They may include:
Severe nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration. Some symptoms which may be observed in a person with dehydration are:
Hepatitis B infection can cause liver damage. Some symptoms of liver damage include:
Severe damage to the liver can cause hepatic encephalopathy. Symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy include excessive sleepiness, mental confusion, and in advanced stages, coma.