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Hepatitis (plural hepatitides) is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ.
The name is from the Greek hepar, the root being hepat, meaning liver, and suffix -itis, meaning “inflammation” (c. 1727). The condition can be self-limiting (healing on its own) or can progress to fibrosis (scarring) and cirrhosis.
Hepatitis may occur with limited or no symptoms, but often leads to jaundice, anorexia (poor appetite) and malaise. Hepatitis is acute when it lasts less than six months and chronic when it persists longer. A group of viruses known as the hepatitis viruses cause most cases of hepatitis worldwide, but it can also be due to toxins (notably alcohol, certain medications, some industrial organic solvents and plants), other infections and autoimmune diseases.