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Types of Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis Virus Description Causes/Route of Transmission Treatment Prevention
HAV Contagious, acute inflammation of the liver; most people recover completely Ingestion of trace fecal matter from unwashed hands or eating food prepared in unsanitary conditions. No medications; plenty of fluids and bed rest with a nutritious diet; avoid alcohol or medications that can further damage the liver during recovery. Vaccine available.
HBV Contagious, acute liver infection that may become chronic Exposure to body fluids infected with the virus; transmitted via
  • unprotected sex
  • contact with infected blood
  • sharing needles, syringes, razors, or toothbrushes with infected person
  • mother-to-child during childbirth
No medications; plenty of fluids and bed rest with a nutritious diet; avoid alcohol or medications that can further damage the liver during recovery. Chronic infection is treated with antivirals only if severe complications arise to prevent liver damage. Vaccine available
Avoid risky behavior
HCV Contagious liver infection, 55-85% of those infected develop chronic infection and 75% of these people will develop chronic liver disease Exposure to body fluids infected with the virus; transmitted via
  • primarily by needle-sharing with infected people during IV drug use
  • mother-to-child
  • rarely through sexual contact
Combination peginterferon/ribavirin treatment is difficult and resolves <50% of cases[2] adding direct acting antivirals boceprevir or telaprevir to above treatment improves viral clearance by ~20% but has more adverse side effects. Those infected with HCV should be vaccinated against HAV/HBV and avoid alcohol No vaccine available.
Avoid risky behavior.
HDV Viral infection that can damage the liver; can only multiply if HBV is present. There are two types of infection:
  • co-infection – infection with HBV and HDV simultaneously
  • superinfection – person has HBV infection and then becomes infected with HDV
Exposure to body fluids infected with the virus; transmitted via
  • unprotected sex
  • contact with infected blood
  • sharing needles, syringes, razors, or toothbrushes with infected person
  • mother-to-child during childbirth
HDV infection will resolve on its own in persons co-infected with HBV. 80% of those with superinfection will develop chronic HDV infection that may progress to end-stage liver disease or cancer . For those uninfected, get HBV vaccine since HDV requires HBV to multiply. For those with HBV, there is no HDV vaccine. Avoid risky behavior.
HEV Acute inflammatory liver disease that does not become chronic. Drinking water contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person. Transmission through blood is rare. No medications; plenty of fluids and bed rest with a nutritious diet; avoid alcohol or medications that can further damage the liver during recovery. No vaccine available.
Avoid contaminated water.

 

Go Back To : Viral Hepatitis—A Very Real Consequence of Substance Use

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