A viral infection that effects the Liver of the recipient, transmitted by different means, depending on the strain of the virus.
There are several strains of Hepatitis, caused by different sources, but primarily, all are a result of a viral infection that attacks the liver.
These viral infections can be short term or long term, and in some instances, there are vaccinations available to help prevent their contraction.
Short term Hepatitis is called 'acute' while long term infection is referred to as 'chronic'.
Acute Hepatitis lasts generally six months or less.
Chronic Hepatitis is when the virus lasts longer than six months.
The word has its origins in Greek, from the word hepar or hepato meaning liver, and the word -itis meaning inflammation.
Plural for Hepatitis is Hepatitides
Hepatitis A - transmitted from the ingestion of fecal matter, or tainted food, or close person to person contact.
Does not develop to chronic.
Caused by the HAV virus.
There is a vaccination, recommended for children under a year old, and to those travelling to specific countries.
Hepatitis B - caused by the HBV virus, that can range from being acute to chronic. It can manifest itself as a mild illness lasting a short time, to becoming chronic, leading to liver disease and/or liver cancer.
Transmitted by coming into contact with a person who is infected, by their blood, semen. Sharing of needles is also a method of transmission.
There is a vaccination, which is recommended for adults at risk of infection, as well as for all infants and children, and adolescents who haven't had the vaccine earlier.
Hepatitis C - caused by the HCV virus, that can be acute, but generally develops to chronic, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and/or liver cancer.
Transmitted through the sharing of needles in drug use, by blood transmission from an infected person.
No vaccine is available.
Hepatitis D - is caused by the HDV virus, and is not common or known in the United States. It relies on the presence of the HBV virus to spread.
Transmitted through contact with blood from an infected person.
There is no vaccine available.
Hepatitis E - caused by the HEV virus, and generally does not cause a chronic condition.
It is not common in the US but is found in many other countries in the world.
Transmission is from the ingestion of fecal matter, even in very small amounts, usually due to contaminated water sources. Improper sanitary conditions can lead to the water supply contamination, that can lead to one being infected by the HEV virus.
No vaccine is available or approved at this time.
Practice (Associated Acts):Simple blood tests are generally needed to determine if one has any of the various forms of Hepatitis.
General symptoms can be virtually undetected, to symptoms that may be mistaken for flu like. This includes mild fever, cramps, or a case of the runs even.
More specific symptoms, that might be due to hepatitis is a drastic loss of appetite, an aversion to smoking (if a smoker) as well as dark coloring of one's urine, a yellowing appearance of the skin and/or around the eyes (jaundice). Abdominal discomfort can also occur as a symptom.
Noteworthy: Hepatitis is generally considered a viral infection, however, it is not always caused by the associated Hepatitis Virus itself. There are other factors that can cause Hepatitis, which is simply an inflammation of the Liver, such as certain drugs, including ordinary aspirin (ibuprofen).
As well, alcohol is a major contributing factor in some instances.