Hepatitis is the injury to the liver with inflammation of the liver cells.1 It is commonly caused by a virus and the usual etiologic agents are named hepatitis A, B, C, D, E viruses.2 Drugs or alcohol use can also lead to hepatitis.3 However, most liver damage is caused by hepatitis A, B, and C viruses.1 Serious cases can lead to life-threatening complications like liver cirrhosis (scarring), liver failure and liver cancer.4  The typical symptoms of hepatitis are jaundice (the yellowish discoloration of eyes and skin), fatigue, abdominal pain, headache, low grade fever and even loss of appetite, to name a few. Each hepatitis disease has its own mode of transmission, prevention and treatment.

Hepatitis A, caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) is spread primarily through food or water contaminated by feces from an infected person. 2 Hepatitis A usually resolves itself over several weeks. Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is spread through contact with infected blood, sex, and from mother to child during childbirth.2 People who are infected with HBV can develop the disease either acutely or chronically. If you suffer from acute hepatitis B infection, you can be treated with drugs known as interferon, which slow the replication of the virus in the body. Those who have acute HBV infections are generally not treated with antiviral drugs since they resolve on their own.2 Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and is spread primarily through contact with infected blood and less extensively through sexual contact and childbirth.2 Drugs known as interferon are the treatment of choice for HCV infections.

In order to protect our safety, it is recommended to undergo vaccination, particularly for Hepatitis A and B. Although no vaccines are available for hepatitis C, D, and E2 reducing ones exposure to these is the surest means of gaining protection from these debilitating viruses.


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