What is hepatitis?

  • Inflammation of liver is usually referred as hepatitis.
  • Infection or non-infectious causes – Infectious is mainly by virus

What is viral hepatitis?

  • Hepatitis is caused by the hepatotrophic viruses A, B, C, D and E.
  • D is not a concern in India

How are these viruses different?

  • A and E are spread from unhygienic food practices
  • A is seen usually before 25 years of age and is most common cause of liver failure in children
  • E is mainly seen in adults. E in pregnancy is dangerous causing 20-25% mortality
  • A & E virus infections are self-limiting and immunity is life long
  • B & C are spread by unsafe sexual practices and by contact with infected blood
  • Tattoo, razors, toothbrushes, dental extractions are also risk factors
  • They cause chronicity and can cause permanent liver damage

What are the symptoms?

  • A, E and rarely B present acutely with jaundice, fever, malaise, bodyache, anorexia, nausea
  • C and most of the time B is chronic (> 6 months) – No symptoms – diagnosed when investigated routinely

What Happens if left undiagnosed

  • Acute Liver Failue
  • Cirrhosis – Hemetemesis, Jaundice, Ascites, Oedema, Encephalopathy
  • Liver Cancer
  • Death

Diagnosis

  • Simple blood tests can diagnose all of these infections
  • Sonography , Fibroscan and other higher blood tests are required for staging

Prevention

  • Vaccination for A and B
  • Beyond 2002 it is a part of national immunization schedule

Treatment

  • A and E – supportive
    B and C – Drugs are available with great efficacy to cure
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