July, 28 is celebrated as the World Hepatitis Day every year to raise global awareness of hepatitis and encourage prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. It affects millions of people worldwide. On the occasion of World hepatitis day, I have decided to list down some facts about this disease that everyone must know.
Facts listed below-
- Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.
- The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.
- Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections like toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
- There are 5 main viruses i.e. types A, B, C, D, and E.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV)-
- HAV is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.
- HAV is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.
- Almost everyone recovers fully from hepatitis A with a lifelong immunity.
- The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with a lack of safe water, and poor sanitation and hygiene (such as dirty hands).
- A safe and effective vaccine is available to prevent hepatitis A.
- Safe water supply, food safety, improved sanitation, hand washing and the hepatitis A vaccine are the most effective ways to combat the disease.
- Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A infection does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal.
- The incubation period of hepatitis A is usually 14–28 days.
- Symptoms of hepatitis A range from mild to severe, and can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine and jaundice. Not everyone who is infected will have all of the symptoms.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV)-
- HBV is transmitted through exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids.
- HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood.
- Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HBV.
- When you’re first infected, the warning signs include Jaundice, Light-colored poop, Fever, Fatigue that persists for weeks or months, Stomach trouble like loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, Belly pain.
- Symptoms may not show up until 1 to 6 months after you catch the virus. You may not feel anything, and about a third of the people with this disease don’t. They only find out through a blood test.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-
- HCV is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood.
- This may happen through transfusions of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use.
- Sexual transmission is also possible but is much less common.
- There is no vaccine for HCV.
- Symptoms can be mild or severe and include fever, feeling tired, poor appetite nausea or vomiting, pain in your stomach, joint or muscle pain, abnormalities in urine or bowel movements, yellowing in your eyes or skin.
- Early symptoms would be most likely to occur around six or seven weeks after exposure to the hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis D virus (HDV)-
- HDV infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV.
- The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in a more serious disease and worse outcome.
- HBV vaccines provide protection from HDV infection.
- HDV doesn’t always cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they often include yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is called jaundice, joint and abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, dark urine, fatigue.
- The symptoms of HBV and HDV are similar, so it can be difficult to determine which disease is causing your symptoms.
- In some cases, HDV can make the symptoms of HBV worse. It can also cause symptoms in people who have HBV but who never had symptoms.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV)-
- HEV is mostly transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food.
- Safe and effective vaccines to prevent HEV infection have been developed but are not widely available.
- Typical signs and symptoms of hepatitis include: an initial phase of mild fever, reduced appetite (anorexia), nausea and vomiting, lasting for a few days; some persons may also have abdominal pain, itching (without skin lesions), skin rash, or joint pain, jaundice.
- These symptoms are often indistinguishable from those experienced during other liver illnesses and typically last between 1–6 weeks.
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Thanks for reading | Stay happy, stay healthy.
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