Hepatitis Symptoms, Spread and Prevention

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Hepatitis is currently the leading cause of death per day, globally. 4000 patients lose their lives daily, primarily because of the lack of awareness and preventive methods.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis involves the inflammation of the liver which is either limited by the organ itself or it leads to scarring (fibrosis), cirrhosis or cancer. It is caused by:

  • Hepatitis viruses of 5 types (A, B,C, D and E)
  • Toxic substances including alcohol
  • Autoimmune diseases

Symptoms of Hepatitis

It may cause an acute infection with little or no symptoms or may include the following:

  1. Jaundice
  2. Dark Urine
  3. Extreme fatigue
  4. Nausea
  5. Abdominal pain
  6. Vomiting
  7. No appetite
  8. Headaches

Spread or Modes of Transmission:

The hepatitis viruses pose the threat of developing into outbreaks and epidemic spread because of the illnesses they cause. Common modes of transmission for the hepatitis viruses include:

  • Contact with contaminated blood or blood products
  • Invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment
  • From mother to fetus (only true for hepatitis B)
  • Sexual contact

Hepatitis Symptoms, Spread and Prevention

Types of Hepatitis Virus:

Hepatitis Virus A (HAV):

Hepatitis Virus A (HAV) is present in the feces of infected people and is transmitted through contaminated food or water to new hosts. The infections caused by HAV are either mild with the infected people making full recovery and acquiring immunity from all further infections or they could become life-threatening.

Areas prone to low quality of sanitation are breeding grounds for the virus, however, vaccines are available for prevention of HAV.

Hepatitis Virus B (HBV):

Hepatitis Virus B is transmitted often through infected blood or blood products, semen or other body fluids. At the time of birth, infected mothers can transmit the virus to their infants or any of the infected family member can infect the infant.

Use of contaminated needles or medical equipment in the hospitals can also infect people. Many of the medical practitioners are prone to developing the infection due to accidental needle stick injuries while caring for their patients, however, vaccines are available for prevention of HBV.

Hepatitis Virus C (HCV):

Much like HBV, Hepatitis Virus C (HCV) is also transmitted through contaminated blood and their products, non-sterile needles or by sharing needles during drug use. Sexual transmission is much less common and there are no vaccines available for HCV.

Hepatitis Virus D (HDV):

Patients who are infected with HBV can only develop infection with HDV in conjunction and the vaccines granting immunity against HBV can also protect against this virus.

It usually occurs due to parenteral contact with infected body fluids. It leads to the development of chronic diseases and are the common causes behind liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Hepatitis Virus E (HEV):

Hepatitis Virus E (HEV) can be transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food or water and is an important disease found in the developing countries of the world. The vaccine has been developed to protect against the virus, however, it is not widely available.

Hepatitis Prevention:

  1. Cutting down on consuming food from the streets.
  2. Wash your hands before eating food or after using the washroom.
  3. Avoid drinking tap water.
  4. Sterilizing medical equipment before any surgical operation.
  5. Disposing of syringes after one-time use.
  6. Avoid sharing needles and personal items including toothbrushes, razors and nail clippers with an infected person.
  7. Immunization of children between the ages of 1-8 years.

You can find the best Doctors For Hepatitis In Pakistan and all famous cities of Pakistan.

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Norin Chaudhry

The writer is a PhD in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, at Iowa State University in the lab of Gustavo C. MacIntosh.

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