Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. Most adults who get it have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis B. Sometimes the virus causes a long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis B.
Over time, it can damage your liver. Babies and young children infected with the virus are more likely to get chronic Hepatitis B. Hepatitis has a broad spectrum of presentations that range from a complete lack of symptoms to severe liver failure. The acute form of hepatitis, generally caused by viral infection, is characterized by constitutional symptoms that are typically self-limiting. Chronic hepatitis presents similarly, but can manifest signs and symptoms specific to liver dysfunction with long-standing inflammation and damage to the organ.