Loading...
Announcement:

The Department of Health is pleased to announce Dentistry Residency 2019 Match Results. For results Click Here

The Department of Health is pleased to announce Fellowship 2019 Match Results. For results Click Here

The Department of Health is pleased to announce Tanseeq 2019 Match Results. For results Click Here

VIRAL HEPATITIS: A THROUGH E

What is viral hepatitis?

Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are several different types of viral hepatitis, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, all of which can be acute or short-term infections. The hepatitis B, C, and D viruses can also cause chronic hepatitis, in which the infection is prolonged, sometimes for the duration of a person’s life. Chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

What are the symptoms of viral hepatitis?

Symptoms of viral hepatitis can include:

  • Jaundice, which causes a yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low grade fever
  • Headache

In some cases, however, a person may not experience any symptoms.

Hepatitis A

How is hepatitis A transmitted?

Hepatitis A is spread primarily through food or water contaminated by feces from an infected person. Rarely, it spreads through contact with infected blood.

Who is at risk of contracting hepatitis A?

People most at risk of contracting hepatitis A include:

  • International travelers, particularly those traveling to developing countries.
  • Anyone who lives with or has sex with an infected person.
  • Anyone living in an area where children are not routinely vaccinated against hepatitis A, and where outbreaks are more likely to occur.
  • During outbreaks, daycare children and employees.
  • Men who have sex with other men.
  • Users of illicit drugs.

How to protect against hepatitis A?

The hepatitis A vaccine offers immunity to adults and children older than the age of 1. The vaccine is recommended for children aged 12-23 months and for adults who are at high risk for infection.

Treatment with immune globulin can provide short-term immunity to hepatitis A when given before exposure or within 2 weeks of exposure to the virus.

Avoiding tap water when traveling internationally and practicing good hygiene and sanitation also help prevent hepatitis A.

What is the treatment for hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A usually resolves itself without treatment over the course of several weeks.

Hepatitis B

How is hepatitis B transmitted?

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infected blood, through sex with an infected person and from mother to child during childbirth, whether the delivery is vaginal or via cesarean section.

Who is at risk of contracting hepatitis B?

People most at risk of contracting hepatitis B include:

  • Anyone who lives with or has sex with an infected person.
  • Men who have sex with other men.
  • Those who have multiple sexual partners.
  • Those who inject drugs.
  • Immigrants and the children of immigrants from areas with high rates of hepatitis B.
  • Infants born to infected mothers.
  • Healthcare workers.
  • Hemodialysis patients.
  • Anyone who received a transfusion of blood or blood products before 1987. After this year, better tests to screen blood donors were developed.
  • International travelers.

How to protect against hepatitis B?

The hepatitis B vaccine offers the best protection. Vaccination is recommended for infants, any children or adolescents who have not been vaccinated previously and at-risk adults. For people who have not been vaccinated, reducing the risk of exposure to the virus can help prevent hepatitis B; this involves practicing safe sex using condoms, and not sharing needles or personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors and nail clippers with an infected person.

What is the treatment for hepatitis B?

Drugs approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B include alpha interferon and peginterferon, which slow the replication of the virus in the body and boost the immune system, and also antiviral drugs: lamivudine, adefovir dipivoxil, entecavir, and telbivudine.

Infants born to infected mothers should receive hepatitis B immune globulin and the hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth to help prevent infection.

People who develop acute hepatitis B are not generally treated with antiviral drugs because, depending on their age at infection, the disease often resolves itself without the need for medication. Infected newborns are most likely to progress to chronic hepatitis B, but by young adulthood, most people with acute infection recover spontaneously. Severe acute hepatitis B can be treated with an antiviral drug, such as lamivudine.

Hepatitis C

How is hepatitis C transmitted?

Hepatitis C is spread primarily through contact with infected blood. Less commonly, it can be transmitted through sexual contact and childbirth.

Who is at risk of contracting hepatitis C?

People most at risk of contracting hepatitis C are:

  • Those who inject drugs.
  • Anyone who has sex with an infected person.
  • Those who have multiple sexual partners.
  • Healthcare workers.
  • Infants born to infected mothers.
  • Hemodialysis patients.
  • Anyone who received a transfusion of blood or blood products before July 1992. After this date, sensitive tests to screen blood donors for hepatitis C were introduced.
  • Anyone who received clotting factors made before 1987. After this year, manufacturing methods for these products were improved.

How to protect against hepatitis C?

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The only way to prevent against contracting the disease is to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. As such, it is recommended to avoid sharing needles or personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors and nail clippers with an infected person.

What is the treatment for hepatitis C?

Chronic hepatitis C is treated with peginterferon together with antiviral drugs. If acute hepatitis C does not resolve itself within 2 to 3 months, drug treatment is recommended.

Hepatitis D

How is hepatitis D transmitted?

Hepatitis D is spread through contact with infected blood. This disease only occurs at the same time as infection with hepatitis B or in people who are already infected with hepatitis B.

Who is at risk of contracting hepatitis D?

Anyone infected with hepatitis B is at risk for hepatitis D. Injection drug users have the highest risk. Others at risk include:

  • Anyone who lives with or has sex with a person infected with hepatitis D.
  • Anyone who received a transfusion of blood or blood products before 1987.

How to protect against hepatitis D?

Anyone not already infected with hepatitis B should receive the hepatitis B vaccine. Other preventive measures include avoiding exposure to infected blood, contaminated needles and an infected person’s personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors and nail clippers.

What is the treatment for hepatitis D?

Chronic hepatitis D is usually treated with pegylated interferon.

Hepatitis E

How is hepatitis E transmitted?

Hepatitis E is spread through food or water contaminated by feces from an infected person.

Who is at risk of contracting hepatitis E?

People most at risk of contracting hepatitis E are:

  • International travelers, particularly those traveling to developing countries.
  • Anyone living in areas where hepatitis E outbreaks are common.
  • Anyone who lives with or has sex with an infected person.

How to protect against hepatitis E?

There is no approved or licensed vaccine for hepatitis E in Abu Dhabi. The only way to prevent the disease is to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. Reducing risk of exposure means avoiding tap water when traveling internationally and practicing good hygiene and sanitation.

What is the treatment for hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E usually resolves itself without treatment over the course of several weeks or months.

Viral hepatitis in summary:

  • Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A, B, C, D or E viruses.
  • Depending on the type of virus, viral hepatitis is spread through contaminated food or water, contact with infected blood, sexual contact with an infected person, or from mother to child during childbirth.
  • Vaccines offer protection from hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • No vaccines are available for hepatitis C, D, and E. Reducing exposure to the viruses offers the best means of protection.
  • Hepatitis A and E usually resolve themselves without the need for treatment. Hepatitis B, C, and D can be chronic and serious. Drugs are available to treat chronic hepatitis.

What else causes viral hepatitis?

Some cases of viral hepatitis cannot be attributed to the hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E viruses, or even the less common viruses that can infect the liver, such as cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes virus, parvovirus and adenovirus. These cases are called non-A–E hepatitis and are subject to ongoing research.

Subscribe for updates

Thanks for Subscribing

Mobile For an optimal experience please
rotate your device to portrait mode