Hepatitis B & Hepatitis
What is hepatitis?
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
About Hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B [HBV] is the most common infection of liver and is caused by the hepatitis B virus[ HBV]. The hepatitis B virus enters the body and travels through the blood to the liver. In the liver, it attaches to the liver cells and multiplies. even though the patient may not have any problems at this stage, multiplication of the virus triggers a response from the body’s immune system.
Hepatitis B infection may lead to cirrhosis ,liver failure or liver cancer if not diagnosed and managed early.
There are most likely around 400 million people with chronic hepatitis B infection globaly.
Hepatitis B is considered to be ’acute‘ in the first 6 months after infection. If hepatitis B virus tests positive after 6 months, this is now a ‘chronic’ hepatitis B infection, which may last a life span.
Acute hepatitis B symptoms:
Symptoms are commenly, with jaundice occurring about 12 weeks after initial infection.The symptoms of acute hepatitis B include:
- Loss of appetite , Nausea and vomiting, Tiredness, Nausea and vomiting, Muscle and joint pain,
- Abdominal pain, Jaundice
- Many people with acute hepatitis B have no symptoms
Chronic hepatitis B symptoms:
Many people with chronic hepatitis B do not have any symptoms of infection so that they feel well and may not be aware they are infected. However, other s may experience symptoms other forms of viral hepatitis.
These can include:
Tiredness, depression Pain in upper, right side of abdomen,Nausea and vomiting, Loss of appetite,Joint aches and pains.
About hepatitis C (HCV):
Hepatitis C(HCV) is a contagious liver disease which ranges, in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver, It results from infection of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Hepatitis C can be either acute or chronic.
Acute hepatitis C virus(HCV) infection is a short-term sickness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection.
Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis C virus remains in a personâ€™s body. Hepatitis C virus infection can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis of liver (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.
How is hepatitis C spread?
Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.Now a days, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus(HCV) by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs etc.
People can become infected with the hepatitis C virus during such activities ie.
- Sharing of needles, syringes, or other tools to inject drugs
- Needlestick injuries in healthcare setups.
- Being born to a mother who has hepatitis C virus.
Less common, a person can also get hepatitis C virus infection through
- Sharing personal care items which may have come in contact with another person's blood, such as razors or tooth brushes,etc.
- Having sexual contact with a person infected with the hepatitis C virus.
Can hepatitis C(HCV) be spread through sexual contact?
Yes it can, but the risk of transmission from sexual contact is believed to be low. The risk increases for those who have multiple sex partners & have a sexually transmitted disease, engage in rough sex, or are infected with HIV. More research is needed for better understand how & when hepatitis C can be spread through sexual contact.
Can anyone get hepatitis C(HCV) by getting a tattoo or piercing?
A few major research studies have not shown hepatitis C to be spread by licensed, commerciel tattooing facilities. However, transmission of hepatitis C (& other infectious diseases) is possible when poor infection-control practices are used during tattooing or( piercing). Body art is becoming increasingly popular and unregulated tattooing and piercing are known to occur in prisons and other informal or unregulated settings. Further more research is needed to determine, if these types of settings and exposures are responsible for hepatitis C virus(HCV) transmission.
Can hepatitis C(HCV) be spread within a household?
Yes it can, but it does not occur very often. If hepatitis C virus is spread within a household, it is likely a result of direct, through-the-skin exposure to the blood of an infected house member.
What are the ways, in which hepatitis C[HCV] is not spread?
Hepatitis C virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils,towels etc, breastfeeding, hugging and kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. It is also not spread through food or water.
Is there any risk of a pregnant woman passing hepatitis C(HCV) to her baby?
Hepatitis C is rarely passed from a pregnant woman to her baby. An about 4 of every 100 infants born to mothers with hepatitis C virus become infected with the virus. However, the risk remains greater if the mother has both HIV infection and hepatitis C.
Can a person get hepatitis C virus from a mosquito or other insect bite?
Hepatitis C virus has not been shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes or other insects.
Can anyone donate blood, organs, or semen if , have hepatitis C(HCV)?
No , if you ever tested +ve for the hepatitis C virus (or hepatitisB), experts recommend never donating blood, organs, or semen because this can spread the infection to the recipient.
symptoms of acute hepatitis C:Approximately 70%-80% of people with acute hepatitis C don't have any symptoms. Some people may have mild to severe symptoms soon after being infected, including eg:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)
How soon after exposure to hepatitis C symptoms appear?
If symptoms occur, the average time is 6â€“7 weeks after exposure, but it may range from 2 weeks to 6 months. However, many people infected with the hepatitis C virus do not develop any symptoms.
Can anyone spread hepatitis C without having symptoms?
Yes he can: even if a person with hepatitis C has no symptoms, he or she can still spread the virus to others.
Is it possible to anyone have hepatitis C and not know about it?
Yes it is possible , many people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus don't know they are infected because they do not look or feel sick.
Symptoms of chronic hepatitis C(HCV)?
Most people with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) do not have any symptoms.even, if a person has been infected for many years, his or her liver may be damaged. In many cases, there are no symptoms of the disease until liver problems have developed. In persons without symptoms, hepatitis C is often detected during routine blood tests to measure liver function and liver enzyme level.
Is chronic hepatitis C is serious problem?
Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, including liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, or even death. It is the leading cause of cirrhosis of liver and liver cancer and the most common cause for liver transplantation . Approximately 8,000-10,000 people die every year from hepatitis C related liver disease.
How is acute hepatitis C treated?
There is no medication available to treat acute hepatitis C infection. Doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids.
How is chronic hepatitis C treated?
Each person should discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating hepatitis. This can include some internists, family practitioners, infectious disease doctors, or hepatologists (liver specialists). People with chronic hepatitis C should be monitored regularly for signs of liver disease and evaluated for treatment. The treatment most often used for hepatitis C is a combination of two medicines, interferon and ribavirin. However, not every person with chronic hepatitis C needs or will benefit from treatment. In addition, the drugs may cause serious side effects in some patients.
Is hepatitis C curable?
Yes, approximately 15%â€“25% of people who get hepatitis C will clear the virus from their bodies without any treatment and will not develop chronic infection. Experts do not fully understand why this happens for some persons.
What can a person with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) do to take care of his or her liver?
People with chronic hepatitis C(HCV) should be monitored regularly by an expert doctor. They should avoid alcohol because it may cause additional liver damage. They also should check with a health professional before taking any prescription pills, supplements etc, or over-the-counter medications, as these can potentially damage the liver. If liver damage is present, a person should check with his or her doctor about receiving vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Is there a vaccine that can prevent hepatitis C?
Not yet. Vaccines are available only for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Research for the development of a vaccine is under way.