What to know about viral hepatitis on world hepatitis

Chronic Hepatitis 2.png What to know about viral hepatitis on world hepatitis

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 Source: Joel Savage

Viral hepatitis is an acute liver inflammation that can completely destroy the organ. Viruses A, B, C, D, and E are the primary causes of viral hepatitis worldwide. C and B viruses are the most harmful. According to the World Health Organization, 325 million persons worldwide are estimated to have hepatitis B or C. Cirrhosis and liver cancer are the most common side effects of these hepatitis kinds.

Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most frequent primary malignant liver tumor, and cirrhosis can both be brought on by hepatitis C and B, which can also manifest as chronic illnesses. The prognosis is poor in both situations, and the patient requires prompt medical attention. In comparison to its colleagues, hepatitis A appears less dangerous, however; it can be acute and unpleasant and does not progress to a chronic stage.

Acute hepatitis' primary signs and symptoms

- Yellowing of the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes; dark urine; and light feces (manifestations of jaundice).

- Abdominal pain

- Temperature

- Weariness, loss of appetite, and pain in the muscles and joints;

It could take a while for chronic hepatitis to become apparent.

Its symptoms include:

- Occasional jaundice, bleeding gums, and nosebleeds, frequent and easy bruising, rash.

- Enlargement of the abdomen as a result of fluid buildup.

Hepatitis virus types and methods of transmission

Hepatitis A: Most frequently, it is spread by contaminated water or food (a fecal-oral mechanism). Normal illness manifestations range from mild to moderately severe; complications and a chronic form are not common. Within a few months, the liver heals. Hepatitis A, however, can occasionally be fatal and severe.

B-type hepatitis: It can be spread by unprotected sexual contact, using non-sterile medical equipment, and coming into touch with the blood of an infected person. During pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, an infected pregnant mother can spread the infection to the baby. The earlier a person gets hepatitis B, the more likely it is that the infection will become chronic: 70-95% of adults recover from hepatitis B, but in most children the disease becomes chronic.

Hepatitis B can be asymptomatic, making it easy for the patient to miss the need to treat it in order to save their liver. However, some people have acute illnesses with severe symptoms, such as jaundice of the skin and sclera, vomiting, and nausea, that last for several weeks. Acute liver failure with a risk of death can occasionally result from acute hepatitis. The hepatitis B virus's most perilous change to a chronic course is that it can lead to liver cancer or cirrhosis.

Hepatitis C: Contact with infected blood, including transfusions of blood and its components and the use of non-sterile medical equipment, is the main method of transmission. Sexual contact is a less common way for the virus to spread, especially if there had been mucous membrane microtraumas. Hepatitis C progresses to chronic disease in 75–85% of patients. The condition can also be passed from mother to child through breastfeeding or delivery.

Hepatitis D: Only those who have the hepatitis B virus are at risk of contracting hepatitis D, which is spread through blood contact or unprotected sex. Cirrhosis and liver cancer risk are both increased by a second infection.

E-type hepatitis: It is spread through contaminated food and water, just like hepatitis A. However, it can be severe in pregnant women, those with liver disorders, and those with compromised immune systems. It often does not require treatment and does not progress to a chronic form.

Prevention: What can be done to lessen the chance of getting viral hepatitis?

- Obtain a vaccine. Viral hepatitis A and B vaccines are readily available. The latter will additionally shield you from hepatitis D infection. It is crucial to receive the first dose of the vaccination on the first day following birth because there is a possibility that mothers could transmit hepatitis B to their offspring and because newborns are more prone to acquire chronic hepatitis B.

- Use condoms when having sex.

- Personal hygiene items like nail kits, toothbrushes, and razors should not be shared.

- Perform manicures, piercings, and tattoos in facilities that adhere to the standards for cleaning and sterilizing equipment.

- Wash your hands before eating, before and during cooking, and after using the restroom.

- Do not eat in public places, if you are unsure that the food was prepared in accordance with hygienic requirements, avoid eating in public areas.

- When traveling, only consume bottled water.

Hepatitis C treatment

The replacement of liver cells by fibrous tissue can be slowed down, the risk of liver cancer can be decreased, and life expectancy can be extended with specific treatment for chronic hepatitis B. Unfortunately, there is no perfect cure for this illness, making prompt vaccination all the more crucial. In 95% of cases, chronic hepatitis C can be cured with the aid of contemporary treatment protocols.

Hepatitis C and B antiviral therapy is accessible through quotas and, in some situations, through required health insurance. Visit a specialist in infectious diseases or a hospital near your home. Your referral will be made to the closest hepatitis treatment center, which is frequently an AIDS Prevention and Control Center.

Columnist: Joel Savage