What is Viral Hepatitis?
Every one of us has heard the word “hepatitis” and considered it a fatal disease, which is indeed a true fact. “Viral hepatitis” is actually the inflammation of the liver that is caused by a nasty family of viruses. Due to hepatitis, it is estimated that globally 1.34 million people died per year and it is also reported that about 80% cases of liver cancer are only caused by hepatitis B and Hepatitis C together. The number of patients having this infection is amplifying each year, which is quite an alarming situation. 28th of July is the Global Awareness Day of Hepatitis, to take advantage of this awareness theme let’s see how this virus causes the liver infection and what measures should be taken in order to prevent or limit the infection of that virus.
Viral Hepatitis Causative Agent
Hepatitis is caused by one of the three major types of hepatitis viruses named A, B and C. Hepatitis A causes the acute infection while B and C are followed by a chronic stage.
Viral Hepatitis Modes of Transmission
HAV (Hepatitis A Virus) transmitted by the contaminated water (fecal-oral
route), and for HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) and HBC (Hepatitis C Virus)
There are mainly four modes of transmission, these are;
Health care professionals who are dealing with the patients and their sample are also at higher risk.
What Happened when Hepatitis Virus entered into the body?
Hepatitis virus after transmission gets enter into the body, attacks and damages the liver cells. This damage leads to the inflammation of the liver, due to the inflammation of the liver (Hepatitis) normal functioning of the liver is disturbed which results in the appearance of various sign and symptoms. If the infection is not controlled the disease can be proved fatal.
Sign and Symptoms of Hepatitis
The sign and symptoms of hepatitis regardless of type are fever, anorexia, nausea, vomiting and jaundice.
Hepatitis A has no chronic stage while Hepatitis B and C lead to chronic infection. In hepatitis B and C, chronic carriers are usually asymptomatic, but some have chronic active hepatitis which may progress to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and death.
Diagnostic Tests for Hepatitis
Laboratory tests for the detection and diagnosis of hepatitis are Liver Function Tests (LFT’s), ELISA and PCR.
Treatment for Hepatitis
For Hepatitis A there is no antiviral therapy available, and infection itself subsides after 6-12 weeks. Alpha interferons are clinically useful and recommended for the treatment of Hepatitis B and C with the antiviral medicines.
For prevention of Hepatitis, follow the vaccination schedule as recommended, maintains the hygienic conditions, avoid the sexual contact with the patient and handle the patient and clinical samples (i.e. patient blood) carefully. Always use gloves while handling the contaminated samples and deal with syringes cautiously to prevent any needle stick injury.
Limit the consumption of alcohol in order to curtail the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. The growing number of patients can be reduced by raising the awareness of the disease in public and strengthening the health care system (provide the screening, diagnosis and treatment facilities).
Join the hands and spread the awareness!
Review of Medical Microbiology by Warren Levinson Edition 10th, Chapters 41.