How Is Hepatitis B Diagnosed
There are three main ways to diagnose HBV infection. They include:
- Blood tests: Tests of the blood serum shows how your bodys immune system is responding to the virus. A blood test can also tell you if you are immune to HBV.
- Abdominal ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to show the size and shape of your liver and how well the blood flows through it.
- Liver biopsy: A small sample of your liver tissue is removed though a tiny incision and sent to a lab for analysis.
The blood test that is used to diagnose hepatitis B is not a test that you get routinely during a medical visit. Often, people whove become infected first learn they have hepatitis B when they go to donate blood. Blood donations are routinely scanned for the infection.
The virus can be detected within 30 to 60 days of infection. About 70% of adults with hepatitis B develop symptoms, which tend to appear an average of 90 days after initial exposure to the virus.
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What Is Hepatitis And What Are The Symptoms As Parents Are Warned To Check Children
Most cases, , have been found in children in the UK. At least one child has died and 17 have needed liver transplants.
In Scotland, 11 cases of the inflammatory liver condition have resulted in the hospitalisation of children between one and five years old.
Around 190 unexplained cases have now been detected in 12 countries worldwide, now including Japan and Canada. Other countries that have also reported cases include Ireland, the US, Israel, the Netherlands, and Romania.
Public Health Scotland has said the number of cases in such a short period of time, combined with the geographical spread and severity of illness, is unusual and requires further investigation.
Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UK Health Security Agency , Dr Meera Chand, said: Investigations for a wide range of potential causes are underway, including any possible links to infectious diseases.
We are working with partners to raise awareness among healthcare professionals, so that any further children who may be affected can be identified early and the appropriate tests carried out. This will also help us to build a better picture of what may be causing the cases.
For some people, hepatitis is a short-term illness.
Here is everything you need to know about hepatitis and its symptoms:
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Questions For Your Doctor
When you visit the doctor, you may want to ask questions to get the information you need to manage your hepatitis C. If you can, have a family member or friend take notes. You might ask:
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How Do You Prevent Hepatitis C
Researchers have yet to develop a vaccine that prevents hepatitis C .
Just as you might not know you have hepatitis C, other people with the condition may not know they have it, either. But you can take a few key precautions to avoid contracting it:
- Avoid sharing needles.
- When getting piercings or tattoos, check to make sure the piercer or tattoo artist uses only sterile, unopened needles and ink.
- Avoid sharing nail clippers, razors, and toothbrushes.
- Use sterile gloves when caring for someone elses wound.
Since hepatitis C is transmitted through blood, you wont get it by sharing food and drinks with someone who has the condition or by hugging, touching, or holding hands.
Hepatitis C is not commonly transmitted through sexual contact. But using a condom or another barrier method when having sex can always help lower your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Keep in mind that you can contract hepatitis C again, even if youve had it already.
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Whats The Difference Between Hepatitis A B And C
Youve probably seen stories in the news about hepatitis A outbreaks linked to infected restaurant workers, or how a rising rate of hepatitis C infections is causing increased health care costs.
But you might not know the difference between hepatitis A, B and C, or why you should be concerned about them.
Heres why: Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, affects more than 50,000 new people each year and is a leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates as many as 6 million people in the U.S. are living with hepatitis.
Having hepatitis can be dangerous and uncomfortable. Symptoms are similar for hepatitis A, B and C and may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, gray-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice . Even worse, chronic hepatitis often has no symptoms, and people dont know theyre infected until they get very sick.
How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis B
If chronic hepatitis B leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, minor medical procedures, and surgery. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order blood tests and an ultrasound or another type of imaging test to check for liver cancer.
If chronic hepatitis B leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
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How Does Hepatitis A Spread
Hepatitis A is spread from person to person via fecal contamination because the virus is present in the stool. It is spread via contaminated food or water by an infected person who gets small amounts of stool on his or her hands, does not wash his or her hands, and passes the stool onto food that is eaten by others. An example of this is outbreaks of hepatitis A in daycare centers for young children when employees dont wash their hands after changing diapers, and they then pass the viruses to the next child they feed. In addition, fecal contamination of water in which shellfish live can contaminate the shellfish, and the shellfish can pass the virus to people who eat the shellfish raw.
The Development Of Hepatitis C Symptoms
If a person becomes infected, it is possible that it can take 2 to 12 weeks for symptoms to develop from an acute infection. However, most people with chronic Hepatitis C dont notice any symptoms at all. In some cases, a person might feel fatigued or depressed but dont attribute these things to being infecting with Hepatitis C.
How long after exposure to Hep C does it take to show up in a blood test?
If you think you have been exposed to the Hepatitis C virus, the HCV antibody blood test may show detectable levels of the virus as early as 4-10 weeks after exposure. By waiting longer after exposure about six months it is determined that about 97% of people should have detectable antibodies with an HCV antibody test if they have in fact become infected.
With a Hepatitis C RNA test, a person can tell if they are infected just 2 to 3 weeks after exposure.
People at the Highest Risk of Having HCV
When you think you may have been exposed to Hepatitis C, it is excruciating to think that you would have to wait weeks just to be tested to see if you are infected. Often, people will look to see if they have any symptoms to help determine if they are infected or ease their minds.
Keep in mind that in order to transmit the Hepatitis C virus, the blood of an infected individual would have to enter your body. If there hasnt been a transfer of blood, your chances of infection are very low.
When symptoms do occur, they may include:
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History And Physical Exam
To diagnose all forms of hepatitis, your doctor will first take your history to determine any risk factors you may have.
During a physical examination, your doctor may press down gently on your abdomen to see if thereâs pain or tenderness. Your doctor may also check for any swelling of the liver and any yellow discoloration in your eyes or skin.
How Is It Treated
Hepatitis A is treated using supportive methods. These can include things like rest, fluids, and healthy foods. Medications can also help to ease some symptoms like fever, aches, and pains.
Theres a vaccine available to protect against infection with HAV. This is typically recommended for children as well as for people at an increased risk for contracting the virus.
Also, receiving a single dose of the hepatitis A vaccine may prevent you from becoming ill if youve been exposed to HAV. For it to be effective, the vaccine needs to be given of exposure.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis B And C
In most patients, hepatitis B develops slowly over the course of several decades, and thus most patients have no symptoms. People who have advanced liver disease such as cirrhosis of the liver may experience complications and symptoms that reflect liver failure. Other symptoms include:
- A buildup of fluid within the abdominal cavity
- Confusion and tremors , which are complications due to the inability of the liver to filter out toxins that are normally cleaned out by a healthy liver
- Vomiting of blood, or blood within the stool . This is a complication in which enlarged veins within the esophagus or stomach bleed as a consequence of increased pressure around the diseased liver.
Most patients with chronic hepatitis C infection report no symptoms. But some patients may have very nonspecific symptoms related to fatigue and discomfort on the right side of the abdomen. Often, symptoms that lead to a diagnosis of hepatitis C are noticeable only at the end stage of liver disease, when the patient has developed liver cirrhosis and liver failure.
Because hepatitis B and C typically have no specific symptoms, many people who have the viruses dont even know it.
Hepatitis A: Who Is At Risk
A prime risk factor for hepatitis A is traveling to or living in a country with high infection rates. You can check the CDC’s travel advisories to learn about recent outbreaks. Eating raw foods or drinking tap water can raise your risk while traveling. Children who attend daycare centers also have a higher risk of getting hepatitis A.
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How Can Hepatitis A B Or C Be Treated
Most cases of hepatitis A will resolve spontaneously within two months. More severe liver complications will be observed in less than 1% of cases. Therefore, no treatment is necessary except in some acute cases where support and comfort measures can be used to alleviate situations such as fluid loss due to vomiting or diarrhea. In addition to rest, a healthy diet and the avoidance of substances toxic to the liver such as alcohol and certain drugs are indicated. Resolution of the infection will be accompanied by the production of antibodies against hepatitis A, which will confer lifelong immunity against subsequent infections by the virus. Immunization with a potent hepatitis A vaccine constitutes the best preventive measure, particularly for children and travellers.
The production of antibodies against the hepatitis C virus will help clear the virus within six months. But contrary to hepatitis A or B, these antibodies will not confer lifelong immunity against re-infection. Cases of hepatitis C also tend to develop in chronic infections much more often than with hepatitis A or B. Chronic hepatitis C cases can degenerate and cause serious liver complications such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. Some of these cases can only be cured by a liver transplant. As with chronic hepatitis B treatment, the use of interferon and other antiviral drugs constitutes the basis of chronic hepatitis C treatment.
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How To Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis B
Dr. Fried emphasizes that hepatitis B infection can be prevented by avoiding risky behaviors involving sex and drugs and by getting vaccinated. The hepatitis B vaccination is required for infants at birth, and subsequent vaccinations for adults are also important. There are separate vaccines for hepatitis A and B, but there is also a combination A and B vaccine so you can take care of both types at once. In North Carolina, newborn vaccinations have been required since 1994. Anyone born before this year should talk to their health care provider about being vaccinated for hepatitis B.
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What Happens With Hepatitis A
Viral diseases generally are contagious. Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It usually is spread from person to person via a fecal-oral route, meaning via fecal contamination of food. It usually is a mild hepatitis, and many people do not know they are infected. The virus is eliminated by the body rapidly, and it does not cause long-term damage. Good hand washing hygiene helps prevent hepatitis A.
What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C, also known as hep C or HCV, is a virus that is associated with liver problems and chronic liver disease. Hepatitis C can be a mild illness that presents no real complications and lasts just a few weeks or months, but the infection can also present with more chronic forms that can last your entire life. Chronic forms of hepatitis C can lead to severe liver issues, including liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.
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How To Reduce Your Risk
Dont share needles or other drug-use equipment. If you use intravenous drugs, take part in a needle exchange program.
Dont share personal care articles, such as razors, scissors, nail clippers or toothbrushes, with an infected person.
If you get a tattoo, body piercing or acupuncture, make sure all equipment is clean and sterile. Needles should always be new, not used, and never homemade.
Wear latex gloves whenever you might come into contact with someone elses blood or body fluids.
Causes Of Noninfectious Hepatitis
Although hepatitis is most commonly the result of an infection, other factors can cause the condition.
Alcohol and other toxins
The alcohol directly injures the cells of your liver. Over time, it can cause permanent damage and lead to thickening or scarring of liver tissue and liver failure.
Other toxic causes of hepatitis include misuse of medications and exposure to toxins.
Autoimmune system response
In some cases, the immune system mistakes the liver as harmful and attacks it. This causes ongoing inflammation that can range from mild to severe, often hindering liver function. Itâs three times more common in women than in men.
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Will It Reach Australia
About 190 unexplained cases have been reported in children around the world, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says.
The World Health Organisation said that, as of April 21, acute cases of hepatitis of unknown origin had been reported in the UK, US, Spain, Israel, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, France, Romania and Belgium.
The cases reported were in children aged from one month to 16 years, WHO said.
It gave no details of the death it said had been reported, nor where it occurred.
Health officials in Canada also say they are now investigating cases of severe liver disease.
As for whether the outbreak with reach Australian shores, Tu says it is too early to tell.
We basically dont know at this stage, so I think its not a time to panic, he told 7NEWS.com.au.
It is something that we definitely need to investigate and find out what really is going on and figure out how afraid we should be and how we can prevent that.
Hepatitis C: Who Is At Risk
People who have injected illegal drugs at any time, even one time, many years ago, could be walking around with chronic hepatitis C. Because there are often no symptoms, many former drug users may not realize they have the infection. People who received a blood transfusion before 1992 also have a higher risk. Before that year, donated blood was not screened for the hepatitis C virus.
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