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What is Hepatitis?

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Dr Seemanthini Desai, the leading microbiologist of Dr Desai Microlab, Bengaluru talks about hepatitis here.

Hepatitis is caused by a viral infection that affects the liver. The different types of hepatitis viruses are hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. All the five viruses follow a different course and their treatment modalities also vary:

  1. Hepatitis A: It is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Consuming contaminated food and water contracts it. Hepatitis A vaccination is available for both children and adults.
  2. Hepatitis B: It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is transmitted through infected blood, urine, vaginal discharge or semen. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all. Chronic HBV may require long term anti-viral medication and could lead to liver-related health issues.
  3. Hepatitis C: Another strain of hepatitis virus causes hepatitis C infection. Coming in contact with infected blood, urine, semen, vaginal secretion or other body fluids transmits it. One can contract the infection through unprotected sex with an infected person or by sharing infected syringes. There is no vaccination against hepatitis C infection. It can be treated with anti-viral drugs.
  4. Hepatitis D: Hepatitis D is caused by the delta hepatitis virus (HDV). It is a coinfection in patients suffering from HBV. Coming in contact with infected blood spreads HDV. There is no medication available for HDV. It can be prevented by taking HBV vaccination as HDV needs HBV virus to multiply.
  5. Hepatitis E: It is caused by hepatitis E virus (HEV) and spreads by consumption of contaminated water.

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