World Hepatitis Day – Viral Hepatitis: What Is It? Types, Causes & Symptoms

July 28th is World Hepatitis Day (WHD), which aims to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and its impact around the world. Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver and is commonly the result of a viral infection. There are five main viral classifications of hepatitis: hepatitis A, B, C, D, & E. In this blog post, we will provide a detailed overview of these viral types, their symptoms, and causes, as well as measures to reduce your risk of contracting them.

Hepatitis A:
Hepatitis A is spread when a person ingests food or water that is contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. It is more common in countries with poor sanitation. Vaccines are available, and most people make a full recovery. But, in severe cases, the disease can lead to acute liver failure and even death.

Hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B is a chronic infection and is transmitted through infected blood and body fluids. It is more commonly spread by mothers to children during birth, but can also spread by needle stick injuries, tattooing, IV drug use and sexual contact. It is more common in the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia. However, there is a vaccine available, and treatment is available to manage the condition.

Hepatitis C:
Hepatitis C can be both acute or chronic and is a blood-borne virus. Transmission commonly occurs through inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, blood transfusions, and sharing drug needles. There is no vaccine available, but DAAs (direct-acting antivirals) can cure most cases of Hep C. Most people with the infection do not show any symptoms, which can lead to late diagnosis and more severe liver damage.

Hepatitis D:
Hepatitis D is a rare form of the infection but one of the most severe. It requires HBV for its replication and can cause liver cancer. It is only possible for people who are infected with HBV to contract Hepatitis D.

Hepatitis E:
Hepatitis E is another form of the disease and is spread by stools of infected persons and contaminated water. It is prevalent in poorer countries with inadequate sanitation. There is no vaccine available, but most people make a full recovery.

Some of the symptoms of infectious hepatitis include fatigue, flu-like symptoms, dark urine, pale stool, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, yellow skin and eyes, signs of jaundice. If you suspect that you have any of the symptoms mentioned, you must see a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Viral hepatitis is a severe disease that can have severe consequences if left untreated. The best way to reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis is through vaccination, good hygiene, and avoidance of potential contaminants. It can affect anyone, but it has a disproportionate affect on people and communities that are underdeveloped, low income, lack healthcare, and overpopulated. Hence, it is crucial to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, its symptoms, and ways to prevent it, especially in high-risk populations. Let us come together and support the cause of World Hepatitis Day by taking the necessary precautions and getting vaccinated.