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Hepatitis

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About Hepatitis

Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver . The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation. An estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A, caused by infection with the Hepatitis A virus (HAV), has an incubation period of approximately 28 days (range: 15–50 days). HAV replicates in the liver and is shed in high concentrations in feces from 2 weeks before to 1 week after the onset of clinical illness. HAV infection produces a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection or chronic liver disease.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). The incubation period from the time of exposure to onset of symptoms is 6 weeks to 6 months. HBV is found in highest concentrations in blood and in lower concentrations in other body fluids (e.g., semen, vaginal secretions, and wound exudates). HBV infection can be self-limited or chronic.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States; approximately 3.2 million persons are chronically infected. Although HCV is not efficiently transmitted sexually, persons at risk for infection through injection drug use might seek care in STD treatment facilities, HIV counseling and testing facilities, correctional facilities, drug treatment facilities, and other public health settings where STD and HIV prevention and control services are available.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D, also known as “delta hepatitis,” is a serious liver disease caused by infection with the Hepatitis D virus (HDV), which is an RNA virus structurally unrelated to the Hepatitis A, B, or C viruses. Hepatitis D, which can be acute or chronic, is uncommon in the United States. HDV is an incomplete virus that requires the helper function of HBV to replicate and only occurs among people who are infected with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). HDV is transmitted through percutaneous or mucosal contact with infectious blood and can be acquired either as a coinfection with HBV or as superinfection in persons with HBV infection. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis D, but it can be prevented in persons who are not already HBV-infected by Hepatitis B vaccination.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis E virus (HEV) that usually results in an acute infection. It does not lead to a chronic infection. While rare in the United States, Hepatitis E is common in many parts of the world. Transmission: Ingestion of fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts; outbreaks are usually associated with contaminated water supply in countries with poor sanitation. Vaccination: There is currently no FDA-approved vaccine for Hepatitis E.

Read More

Read more about Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Website