DermNet provides Google Translate, a free machine translation service. Note that this may not provide an exact translation in all languages
Author: Dr Nick Turnbull, Dermatology Registrar, Auckland and Greenlane Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, 2010; DermNet NZ Update July 2021. Copy edited by Gus Mitchell.
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to infection with viruses from the hepatotrophic family: hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis D (HDV), and hepatitis E (HEV). Many other viruses can also cause hepatitis; this review will focus on the skin changes associated with infection by the known hepatotrophic viruses.
Hepatitis C virus
Viral hepatitis due to hepatotrophic viruses can be divided into acute and chronic forms.
Skin changes are found in up to 17% of HCV-positive patients.
HDV is usually a co-infection in patients with chronic HBV accelerating progression to early liver failure.
HEV is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis worldwide, although it is often asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic with jaundice following a prodromal phase. It can progress to chronic infection in immunocompromised patients.
Skin changes in acute viral hepatitis can be nonspecific such as the itch secondary to jaundice. Chronic viral hepatitis can cause progressive liver failure and skin changes due to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.
Skin changes seen with viral hepatitis can be due to:
Skin changes of acute viral hepatitis
At least 20% of patients with chronic hepatitis due to HBV or HCV develop skin changes, only a few of which are diagnostic of viral hepatitis.
Skin signs of possible hepatitis B infection
Skin signs of possible hepatitis C infection
Skin signs of chronic liver failure and cirrhosis
Books about skin diseases
© 2021 DermNet New Zealand Trust.
DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.