How To Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis A
There is an effective vaccine against hepatitis A that is recommended for all children at age 1. However, most adults probably have not received it because the vaccine wasnt required when they were young. Dr. Fried says you can come in contact with the hepatitis A infection pretty much anywhere, so its a good idea for everyone older than 1 to get the vaccine, whether or not theyve had any known exposure or traveled to regions where hepatitis A is common.
In addition to getting vaccinated, you should wash your hands every time you go to the bathroom and before handling or serving food or drinks. Also be sure to wash and rinse raw produce before eating or serving it. Cooking raw produce further reduces the risk of infection.
Is Everyone Tested For Both Hepatitis B And C
The US Centers for Disease and Control recommends testing for certain high-risk groups for hepatitis B.
- High-risk groups include people not born in the US, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and people with hepatitis C, among other groups.
- If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis B, contact your doctor right away. A treatment is available that may reduce your risk of infection if you receive this medicine within 24 hours of exposure to the virus.
The CDC recommends that all adults 18 years and older be tested for hepatitis C at least once. Pregnant women should be tested during each pregnancy. Getting tested for hepatitis C is important, because HCV treatments can cure most people in 8 to 12 weeks. If you are at higher risk for HCV, youll need to be tested more frequently.
Treatments for both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are in a class called antivirals, but the medications that are used are different.
What Is Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a type of viral hepatitis. It can cause an acute or chronic infection. People with an acute infection usually get better on their own without treatment. Some people with chronic hepatitis B will need treatment.
Thanks to a vaccine, hepatitis B is not very common in the United States. It is more common in certain parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.
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Hepatitis C And The Hep C Virus
Hepatitis C is a liver infection that can lead to serious liver damage. Its caused by the hepatitis C virus. About 2.4 million people in the U.S. have the disease. But it causes few symptoms, so most of them don’t know. The virus spreads through an infected persons blood or body fluids.
There are many forms of the hepatitis C virus, or HCV. The most common in the U.S. is type 1. None is more serious than any other, but they respond differently to treatment.
What Is The Most Common Strain Of Hepatitis And Who Is Most At Risk Of Contracting It
Hepatitis C is the most common strain, with 71 million peopleworldwide suffering from chronic cases. According to Zappas, some 75 percentof people with hepatitis C in the U.S. are baby boomers, born between 1945 and 1965. Additionally, patients with HIV are at higher risk of contracting hepatitis C, the infection occurring in nearly 25 percent of patients who are HIV-positive, and up to 90 percent of HIV-positive injection drug users.
Hepatitis B may be more prevalent among certain demographics, such as in Asian/Pacific Islander populations, Zappas said. Those who engage in regular physical or sexual contact with an infected patient are at higher risk of contracting the infection themselves, since both hepatitis B and C are transmitted via blood and bodily fluids.
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What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver caused by an RNA virus that is known as the hepatitis C virus . The hepatitis C virus is in the genus Hepacivirus in the family Flaviviridae. The virus remains in the liver in approximately 80% of people and can cause chronic disease, sometimes reappearing many years after the initial infection. HCV can also cause an acute form of viral hepatitis.
What’s The Difference Between Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B and C have some similarities to each other, but also a number of important differences. Like any form of hepatitis they both attack the liver, sometimes causing serious liver damage. They can both be transmitted by blood to blood contact with an infected person. They are both treatable with medication, which is improving all the time and this means that those infected with either hepatitis B or C can usually live a long and healthy life with a few lifestyle changes. There are similarities in the some of the ways in which you might become infected, including sharing needles or equipment used to inject drugs through infected blood products passed on from mother to child and more.
However, there are also a number of important differences between hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
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What Is The Outlook
Most people with hepatitis A recover without any complications. Once youve had hepatitis A, you cant get it again. Antibodies to the virus will protect you for life.
Some people may be at an increased risk for serious illness from hepatitis A. These include:
- older adults
acute hepatitis B infections in the United States in 2018.
Facts About Viral Hepatitis
Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. The most common hepatitis viruses in Europe are types A, B, C and E .
Even though their effects on the liver and the symptoms they produce can be similar, the severity and duration of the disease are determined by the virus that caused it. While HAV infection is typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water and causes an acute infection, hepatitis B and C usually occur as a result of contact with infected body fluids and can develop into a chronic infection. Together, HBV and HCV are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
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Is There A Cure For Hepatitis
According to Zappas, there is no technical cure for viral hepatitis, and antibodies will always test positive in a patient who has experienced hepatitis A, B or C. The management of chronic hepatitis B is complex and based on a myriad of factors. Some patients manage their condition with long-term antiviral medications.
However, vaccinations for hepatitis A and B have proven highly effective. Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended and routinely done in infancy, Zappas affirmed. Most people respond to these vaccinations, but post-vaccination testing may be indicated in high-risk patients.
The outlook is even brighter when it comes to hepatitis C: Over the last 10 years, the hepatitis C treatment regimens have evolved, Zappas said. Now, theres nearly a 90% cure rate with certain antiviral medications, which can eradicate the replication of the hepatitis C RNA and therefore abate the damage of the virus on the liver. It is important to note that patients are not immune to hepatitis C after treatment, and can be reinfected and/or contract another strain.
To measure the effects, providers look for a sustained virologic response indicating that the virus remains inactive, which is evaluated between 12 and 24 weeks after beginning the medication.
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Is There A Possibility Of Coinfection
Both hepatitis B and C can be present at the same time. Hepatitis C may become more dominant, reducing hepatitis B levels in the bloodstream to low or undetectable levels.
Prior to starting hepatitis C treatment, people should have their blood tested for hepatitis B using the three-part blood test . According to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases treatment guidelines, people who are currently infected with hepatitis B or who have recovered from a previous infection should be managed carefully to avoid dangerous elevations in liver enzymes that can lead to liver failure.
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Which Type Of Hepatitis Is Considered The Most Dangerous
Hepatitis A is considered the least threatening, because it is often transientits rare that any patient experiences lasting effects or dies from this infection.
On the other hand, both hepatitis B and C can be chronic conditions and may generate long-term health effects, such as liver failure, cirrhosis and even hepatocellular carcinoma .
What Is The Difference Between Hepatitis A B And C
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting a hepatitis A outbreak in Mississippi and is joining surrounding states and others across the country in fighting this national epidemic.
With this news, you might be wondering what the difference between hepatitis A, B, and C?
In order to answer that question, you first need to answer the question…
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and when the liver is inflamed of damaged, its function can be affected. According to the Center for Disease Control, heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus.
In the United States, the most common hepatitis viruses are hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus.
What is the difference between hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C?
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by three different viruses. Each can cause similar symptoms, but they are spread in different ways and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A is usually a short-term infection. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also begin as short-term infections but in some people, the virus remains in the body, and causes chronic infection.
There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B however, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
What is hepatitis A?
The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.
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Acute Vs Chronic Infection
Doctors distinguish between chronic and acute infection with hepatitis viruses. Acute infection is a short-term condition, lasting under six months. Chronic infection is a long-term condition, lasting more than six months.
Hepatitis B infection can be either acute or chronic. Most people who get acute hepatitis B dont end up progressing to chronic hepatitis B. By contrast, acute hepatitis C tends to develop into chronic hepatitis C. Approximately 7585 percent of adults newly infected with hepatitis C develop a chronic infection, according to the CDC . Others clear the infection.
When you get acute hepatitis C you may or may not have symptoms. Most cases of acute hepatitis C are asymptomatic, meaning people dont notice the symptoms. Symptoms are only noticeable in 15 percent of cases of acute hepatitis C.
Can Hepatitis B Be Prevented
The best way to prevent hepatitis B is to get the hepatitis B vaccine.
You can also reduce your chance of hepatitis B infection by
- Not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
- Wearing gloves if you have to touch another person’s blood or open sores
- Making sure your tattoo artist or body piercer uses sterile tools
- Not sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
- Using a latex condom during sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
If you think you have been in contact with the hepatitis B virus, see your health care provider right away. Your provider may give you a dose of the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent infection. In some cases, your provider may also give you a medicine called hepatitis B immune globulin . You need to get the vaccine and the HBIG as soon as possible after coming into contact with the virus. It is best if you can get them within 24 hours.
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Hiv And Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Coinfection
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by a virus. Because these infections can be spread in the same ways as HIV, people with HIV in the United States are often also affected by chronic viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems among people with HIV than among those who do not have HIV. Liver disease, much of which is related to HBV or HCV, is a major cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people with HIV.
Given the risks of hepatitis B or hepatitis C coinfection to the health of people living with HIV, it is important to understand these risks, take steps to prevent infection, know your status, and, if necessary, get medical care from someone who is experienced in treating people who are coinfected with HIV and HBV, or HIV and HCV.
Hepatitis And Liver Transplant
Any form of hepatitis can cause liver damage. If the liver becomes severely damaged, a liver transplant is necessary.
With more than 14,000 Americans on the waiting list for a liver transplant, patients often wait years for a transplant. Living donor transplantation allows a transplant to take place before the disease progresses further.
To reduce time on the transplant waiting list, you can choose to find a living donor. During a living-donor liver transplant, the surgeon takes a small part of the donors healthy liver and transplants it into the recipient. This process is possible because of the livers unique ability to regenerate, or regrow.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can be contracted only through direct blood contact. In the U.S., the primary mode of transmission is blood exposure through sharing needles. Mother-to-child transmission is about 5 percent of cases. Hepatitis C infection might also be a risk for people who received a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before 1992, when widespread testing of the blood supply for hepatitis C began.
How To Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis C
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available for hepatitis C, but you can protect yourself by avoiding behaviors such as sharing needles and syringes. In addition, the CDC recommends people born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for hepatitis C. Testing is also recommended for people who were treated for blood-clotting problems before 1987 and recipients of blood transfusions or donated organs before 1992.
The UNC Liver Center has a clinic in Chapel Hill that specializes in hepatitis B and C, incorporating the latest clinical trials and most up-to-date therapies. Treatment for hepatitis is also available at our locations in Asheville, High Point, Raleigh and Wilmington. To learn more, call 966-2516.
Michael Fried, MD, is the director of the UNC Liver Center and a professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.
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How Are Hepatitis B And C Treated
Hepatitis B: Not all patients with chronic hepatitis B infection require treatment. At Yale Medicine, specialists decide on an individual basis whether a patient is an appropriate candidate for treatment. Generally, patients require treatment when their hepatitis B virus level is high, and when laboratory tests demonstrate significant inflammation or injury to the liver.
There are currently seven approved drugs for hepatitis B, two of which are considered to be first-line treatments. These drugs are oral pills taken once daily, and while they’re very effective at suppressing the virus to very low or undetectable levels over the long term, they are not considered curative.
Therefore, the goal of treatment is to control the virus long-term and decrease the risk of hepatitis B related complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Hepatitis C: For the greater part of the last 20 years, treatment of hepatitis C required the use of a chemotherapy-like injection drug called interferon, which has been associated with serious side effects and a low cure rate. Fortunately, advances in hepatitis C treatments within the last three years now allow for the use of oral medications that are significant improvements in terms of safety and effectiveness.
What Other Problems Can Hepatitis B Cause
In rare cases, acute hepatitis B can cause liver failure.
If you have ever had hepatitis B, the virus may become active again, or reactivated, later in life. This could start to damage the liver and cause symptoms.
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What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Treating Hepatitis B And C Unique
The Viral Hepatitis Program at Yale Medicine represents one of the leading viral hepatitis treatment programs in the country and is engaged in innovative research focused on advancing the care of patients with chronic hepatitis B, C and D infections.
A multidisciplinary team of faculty physicians and mid-level providers offer a coordinated approach to preparing patients for success with antiviral therapy, including comprehensive laboratory testing services to characterize your infection, non-invasive liver fibrosis testing with techniques such as FibroScan liver elastography, structured hepatitis patient education classes, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques , a formal physician-guided weight-loss program and access to clinical trials evaluating current and new therapies that are not available in routine clinical practice. Our program is a core member of several national and international observational cohort studies which contributes to the advancement of science of hepatitis treatment around the world.