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Hepatitis is a viral infection which causes inflammatory of the liver.

Hepatitis
comes from the Ancient Greek wordhepatwhich means liver and the Latin
worditisthat means inflammation.
There are five types of hepatitis, which is named after the virus that causes
it. The five types are Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C
(HCV), Hepatitis D (HDV) and Hepatitis E (HEV). Among these types,
Hepatitis A and E are caused by ingestion of contaminated food or
water. Hepatitis B, C, and D are usually transmitted by contaminated blood
or blood products, invasive medical procedures which used contaminated
equipment, transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member
to child and by sexual contact.
Types of Hepatitis
Hepatitis A Hepatitis A virus is usually present in the faeces of infected
persons and is transmitted by consumption of contaminated food or water.
Anal-oral contact during sex can also be a cause of hepatitis A. Since this
infection is mild in many cases, most people make a full recovery and do not
lead to chronic disease. However, it can also be severe and life threatening
since most areas in the world has poor sanitation.

Hepatitis B It is a sexually transmitted disease which is caused by the


virus HBV. It is usually spread by contact with infected blood, semen and
some other body fluids. One can also be infected by:

Being bitten by an infected person.


Transfusions of HBV-contaminated blood and blood products.
Use of contaminated injections during medical procedures.
Sharing personal items such as razor with an infected person.
Using a mothers milk that is infected to feed a baby.

Hepatitis C HCV is spread by direct contact with the blood of an infected


person. But unlike in persons with Hepatitis B, liver cancer is only increased
in people with cirrhosis and only few Hepatitis C patients get cirrhosis. This
is because their liver swells and become damaged.
Hepatitis D Occurs only to patients who are infected with HBV. The
combination of HBV and HDV infection result to a more serious disease with
a worse outcome. Though Hepatitis B vaccine can provide protection for
Hepatitis D, infection can still come through contact with infected blood,
unprotected sex and perforation of the skin with infected needles.

Hepatitis E Like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E is transmitted through


consumption of contaminated water or food. The spread of HEV is common
in developing countries, which is why it is seen as an important cause of
hepatitis outbreaks. Though an infected persons liver swells, there is no
long term consequence for it.
Common symptoms of Hepatitis
People with hepatitis are undiagnosed, because theyve mistaken it for flu
and sometimes there are no symptoms at all. Most common symptoms of
hepatitis include:

Loss of appetite
Fatigue
Mild fever
Muscle or joint aches
Nausea and vomiting
Abdominal pain
Diarrhea
Vomiting
Weight loss

Sometimes, there are other symptoms like:

Dark urine

Internal bleeding
Generalized itching
Jaundice
Light-colored stools

How to prevent Hepatitis


Many actions can be taken to reduce the chance of being infected by
hepatitis. Though there are safe and effective vaccines available to prevent
HAV and HBV, the vaccine for HEV is not widely available. Up to this date,
there is still no vaccine for HCV.
Practice these measures to avoid being infected by hepatitis:

Get vaccines for hepatitis A and B.


Wash your hands with soap after going to the toilet.
Consume only cooked foods.
Avoid tap water when travelling to certain countries or regions.
Dont share drug needles, inhalant devices, or take drugs.
Use latex condom and practice safe sex.
Dont use an infected persons personal items such as razors or
toothbrushes.
Take precautions when getting tattoos, body piercing or manicures and
pedicures. If possible, bring your own manicure kit. Make sure that the
instruments are cleaned or disposable.
Take precaution too when travelling to areas with poor sanitation.

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