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Many viruses cause hepatitis. Of these, five medically important viruses are commonly described as “hepatitis viruses” because their main site of infection is the liver. These five are hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis D virus (HDV, delta virus), and hepatitis E virus (HEV) (Tables 41–1 and 41–2). Other viruses, such as Epstein–Barr virus (the cause of infectious mononucleosis), cytomegalovirus, and yellow fever virus, infect the liver but also infect other sites in the body and therefore are not exclusively hepatitis viruses. They are discussed elsewhere.

TABLE 41–1Glossary of Hepatitis Viruses and Their Serologic Markers
TABLE 41–2Important Properties of Hepatitis Viruses



HAV causes hepatitis A.

Important Properties

HAV is a typical enterovirus classified in the picornavirus family. It has a single-stranded RNA genome and a nonenveloped icosahedral nucleocapsid and replicates in the cytoplasm of the cell. It is also known as enterovirus 72. It has one serotype, and there is no antigenic relationship to HBV or other hepatitis viruses.

Summary of Replicative Cycle

HAV has a replicative cycle ...

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