This Thursday is Hepatitis Awareness Day, but how much do we really know about it? I know for sure I don’t know that much! So I’ve done some research and I’m here to share what I’ve found out with you guys!
First of all, what is Hepatitis?
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different hepatitis viruses, hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Some can pass you by without any serious problems, however other can last a longer period and cause scarring of the liver, loss of liver function and in some cases, liver cancer.
Here is a brief run down on how each can be contracted:
Type A – Is spread mainly through eating food or drinking water that has been in contract with faeces or an infected person. Type A only causes acute hepatitis and the bodies immune system normally takes care of it within a few weeks/month, however there is a vaccination for type A. By practicing safe hygiene and drinking clean water you can reduce your risks of contracting hepatitis A.
Type B – This can be contracted through transmitted bodily fluid or blood and can also be passed from a mother to a child through childbirth and even child-to-child contact. There is a vaccination for it however, other ways to reduce the risk of contracting this form of the illness would be to avoid sharing toothbrushes, needles, nail scissors or razors with an infected person
Type C – This is caused through blood-to-blood contact and on occasion through sexual practices and even childbirth. This type does NOT have a vaccine therefore it is essential to reduce your risks of contracting this illness and can be done so using the same examples as above (avoid sharing toothbrushes, needles, nail scissors or razors with an infected person). There are treatments however, but it depends on the individuals genotypes as that will determine how they react to certain treatments.
Type D – This is again through the contact of infected blood and can only be found in people who are infected already with Hepatitis B. At the moment there is no effective antiviral therapy currently available for hepatitis D but people not already infected with hepatitis B, should get the hepatitis B vaccination. Again, you should avoid sharing all of the things mentioned above.
Type E – This way is contracted in almost the same way as Hepatitis A (eating or drinking food (that has been contaminated by the faeces of an infected person), as well as blood-to-blood contact BUT it only affects people who are already infected with hepatitis B, as it needs the hepatitis B virus to be able to survive in the body. There’s no vaccine for hepatitis E, but you can reduce your risk by practicing good food and water hygiene measures, particularly when travelling to parts of the world with poor sanitation.
In all honestly, I didn’t even realize there where so many different forms of Hepatitis! You learn something new every day.
Now, some of these different forms of infections can be specific to certain areas, for example:
- Indian subcontinent
- Africa and sub-Saharan Africa
- Central and South America
- the Middle East, Far East and Eastern Europe
- Southeast Asia
Yet they can all be caught anywhere in the world if you are not practicing safe hygiene! Again, though they do not all have vaccines avail;able there are alternative treatment methods available for all of them, or with some the bodies immune system handles it which is pretty cool!
To find out more information about Hepatitis or if you want to join in with WHD 2016, please follow the links below.
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