The Types Of Viral Hepatitis
There are five main types of viral hepatitis known as hepatitis A , hepatitis B , hepatitis C , hepatitis D , and hepatitis E . That said, there have been cases of acute hepatitis that could not be attributed to one of these five types of hepatitis viruses, alcohol, drugs, or autoimmune disease, which lead researchers to try to find another cause.
Though the etiology of these viruses have not yet been fully established, researchers have identified three other types of viral hepatitis , which they have named hepatitis F , hepatitis G , and transfusions transmitted virus . As relatively new diseases and viral discoveries, information about them and how they work is relatively scarce. We do know, however, that cases of TTV have only been associated with hepatitis in people who have had a blood transfusion.
How Is Hepatitis C Spread
Hepatitis C is spread person-to-person usually by direct contact with another person’s blood who is infected with hepatitis C virus. Individuals that share needles are at a high risk to become infected. Surgical and other instruments that are not properly decontaminated can also spread hepatitis C to others. Moreover, some patients that receive organ transplants from individuals that have the virus, but no symptoms, can transmit the disease to the organ transplant recipient.
How Hepatitis C Is Transmitted
Sharing needles and other equipment for drug use is the most common way of spreading the hepatitis C virus. But there are other ways and risk factors.
Hepatitis C is a type of hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus . When a person contracts hepatitis C, it can take 2 to 12 weeks from exposure until the onset of any symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Between 20 and 30 percent of people infected with HCV develop symptoms of acute hepatitis C. But in many cases of acute hepatitis C, people with HCV have no symptoms. About three-quarters of people with HCV will develop complications, including a chronic HCV infection that can last a lifetime.
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Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis C
Doctors usually recommend one-time screening of all adults ages 18 to 79 for hepatitis C. Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have hepatitis C. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it causes serious health problems.
Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis C
You are more likely to get hepatitis C if you:
- Have injected drugs
If you have chronic hepatitis C, you probably will not have symptoms until it causes complications. This can happen decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis C screening is important, even if you have no symptoms.
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Outcome Of Hcv Infection
Different factors such as the patientâs race or treatment according to alpha interferon, fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, high age, male, and metabolic disorders and level of AST and ALT have been effective in predicting the outcome of patients with HCV infection . Several studies have shown that factors such as age, sex, race, host immune response, and genetic susceptibility had a role in outcome of HCV infection. Polymorphism of IL-28B was one of the powerful causes of therapeutic response to HCV infection . Serum level of ALT showed a level of liver lesions caused by HCV, and high level of GGT was known as an independent predictor of treatment failure. High levels of GGT have been associated with fibrosis progression, steatosis, and insulin resistance, which are more in common in nonresponsive patients . Everhat et al. reported that GGT was an oxidative stress and must be considered as a marker of disorder function . Liver biopsies and fibroscans were used for assessment of inflammation and fibrosis progression. Liver biopsy was a gold standard method for liver fibrosis assessment and due to the invasive nature of liver fibrosis. Calcium metabolism and vitamin D have played a role in regulation of the immune system . In another study, researchers found considerable association between low grades of 25-hydroxy vitamin D being lower than 15 ng per milliliter and outcome of patients with HCV infection .
Activities That Do Not Spread Hepatitis C
Because HCV is spread through blood, you cannot get the virus from:
- Breast milk
- Food or water
- Casual contact with an HCV-infected person, such as hugging, holding hands, or kissing
- Being coughed or sneezed on
- Sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils
- Via mosquitoes or other insects
Additional reporting by Deborah Shapiro.
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Diagnosis Of Hcv Infection
2.7.1. Recombinant immunoblot assay
This test can detect viral antigens and is performed for confirmation of specific serological test.
2.7.2. Polymerase chain reaction
Different molecular techniques such as real-time PCR, reverse transcriptase PCR, transcription mediated amplification , and branched DNA can detect HCV RNA among serum or plasma of patients. This diagnostic method was more useful in cases in which virus counts are low. Determine of HCV genotype is performed with 5â² noncoding sequence and Trugene 5/NC and it is useful to predict the patientâs outcome .
2.7.3. Liver biopsy and fibroscan
How Can I Prevent Spreading Hepatitis C To Others
If you have hepatitis C, follow the steps above to avoid spreading the infection. Tell your sex partner you have hepatitis C, and talk with your doctor about safe sex practices. In addition, you can protect others from infection by telling your doctor, dentist, and other health care providers that you have hepatitis C. Dont donate blood or blood products, semen, organs, or tissue.
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You Can Have It And Not Know It
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus . HCV is far more infectious than HIV. Presently, there is no vaccine to prevent HCV infection.
In 2011, it is estimated that over 220,000 people in Canada were infected with HCV. In 2012, 10,180 new cases of hepatitis C were reported in Canada. It has been estimated that over 40% of people living with chronic hepatitis C don’t even know they are infected.
About 15 to 25 percent of adults will recover within 6 months of becoming infected . The remaining 75 to 85 percent are unable to clear the virus and will become chronically infected. Chronic hepatitis C is treatable and in some instances can be cured.
Why is hepatitis C a health concern?
Many people infected with HCV do not know they have the virus because symptoms can take two to six months to appear and the majority of people will not develop symptoms. During this time, they can spread the infection to others. You may not know you have this infection until damage has already been done to your liver. Potential complications from chronic hepatitis C include cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer and premature death.
Why do I need my liver?
How is hepatitis C virus spread?
The most common risk factors for HCV infection include:
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?
How can I find out if I have hepatitis C?
How can I protect myself and others against HCV?
What if I have hepatitis C?
What Are The Treatments For Hepatitis C
Treatment for hepatitis C is with antiviral medicines. They can cure the disease in most cases.
If you have acute hepatitis C, your health care provider may wait to see if your infection becomes chronic before starting treatment.
If your hepatitis C causes cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Treatments for health problems related to cirrhosis include medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If your hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.
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Other Risks Can Include:
- Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another persons blood, such as razors, toothbrushes or nail clippers
- Inoculation practices involving multiple use needles or immunization air guns
- Exposure of broken skin to HCV infected blood
- HIV infected persons
People with current or past risk behaviors should consider HCV testing and consult with a physician. HCV testing is currently not available at most public health clinics in Missouri. For information about HCV testing that is available, call the HCV Program Coordinator at 573-751-6439.
How Does Hepatitis C Spread
Hepatitis C is spread only through exposure to an infected person’s blood.
High-risk activities include:
- Sharing drug use equipment. Anything involved with injecting street drugs, from syringes, to needles, to tourniquets, can have small amounts of blood on it that can transmit hepatitis C. Pipes and straws to smoke or snort drugs can have blood on them from cracked lips or nosebleeds. Get into a treatment program if you can. At the very least, don’t share needles or equipment with anyone else.
- Sharing tattoo or piercing tools. Nonsterile items and ink can spread contaminated blood.
- Blood transfusions in countries that donât screen blood for hepatitis C.
- Nonsterile medical equipment. Tools that arenât cleaned properly between use can spread the virus.
- Blood or cutting rituals. Sharing the tools or exchanging blood can transmit hepatitis C.
Medium-risk activities include:
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Who Gets Hepatitis C
Persons at highest risk for HCV infection include:
- persons who ever injected illegal drugs, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago,
- people who had blood transfusions, blood products or organ donations before June 1992, when sensitive tests for HCV were introduced for blood screening, and
- persons who received clotting factors made before 1987.
Other persons at risk for hepatitis C include:
- long-term kidney dialysis patients,
- health care workers after exposures to the blood of an infected person while on the job,
- infants born to HCV-infected mothers,
- people with high-risk sexual behavior, multiple partners and sexually transmitted diseases,
- people who snort cocaine using shared equipment, and
- people who have shared toothbrushes, razors and other personal items with a family member who is HCV-infected.
How Do I Test For Hepatitis C
A simple blood test will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given an extra test to see if your liver is damaged.
If youve got hepatitis C you should be tested for other STIs. It’s important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis C do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. It can also stop you from getting the infection again.
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What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus . Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with HCV by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, HCV infection is a short-term or acute illness but for more than half of people who become infected with HCV, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic HCV infection is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of infected people might not be aware of their infection because they do not have any symptoms. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The best way to prevent HCV infection is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.
How Do You Prevent Hepatitis
Both hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine. There is currently no vaccine available to prevent hepatitis C.
To prevent spreading or getting hepatitis A:
- Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, changing diapers, touching garbage or dirty clothes, and before preparing food and eating
- Follow guidelines for food safety
- Avoid unpasteurized milk or foods made with it
- Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating
- Keep the refrigerator colder than 40°F and the freezer below 0°F
- Cook meat and seafood until well done
- Cook egg yolks until firm
- Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after contact with raw food
To prevent spreading or getting hepatitis B or hepatitis C:
- Practice safe sex and use a latex condom each time you have sex
- Dont share razors, toothbrushes, or any personal objects that might have blood on them
- Dont share needles or syringes
- Cover cuts and open sores with bandages
- Clean blood off of things with a mixture of bleach and water: use 9 parts bleach to one-part water
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Staying Healthy With Hepatitis
Not everyone needs treatment right away, but its important to be monitored regularly by an experienced doctor and discuss treatment options of the best way to keep you healthy.
- Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Eat a healthy & balanced diet. Include a lot of vegetables and fruits try to stay away from too much salt, sugar and fat.
- Exercise regularly. Walking is one of the best exercises, and it helps to make you feel less tired.
- Check with a health professional before taking any prescription pills, supplements, or over-the-counter medications.
- Do not share razors, nail clippers, needles or other items that come in contact with blood with other people.
Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
It is very important to know that not everyone with hepatitis C has symptoms. The only way to know if you have hepatitis is by talking to your doctor and getting a blood test.
Many people living with hepatitis C feel well and only have symptoms once the disease has progressed and there is serious liver damage.
If you do not have symptoms this does not mean that the virus isnt causing damage.
When first infected, some people may find:
- their urine becomes dark
- their eyes and skin turn yellow
- they experience a minor flu-like illness.
These symptoms may disappear within a few weeks, but this does not necessarily mean that the infection has been cleared.
Over time, symptoms that may develop include:
- tiredness and fatigue
- flu-like symptoms
- pain in the abdomen where the liver is located
- not feeling hungry and indigestion.
Around 30% of people who have been infected may clear the virus from their blood naturally, with no treatment, within 6 months. These people no longer have the hepatitis C virus and are not infectious, but will always have hepatitis C antibodies in their blood. The presence of hepatitis C antibodies shows that someone has been exposed to the virus, but does not offer any immunity against hepatitis C. People can become reinfected after clearing the virus naturally, or after treatment.
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Hepatitis C Virus Genotype
Hepatitis C virus is divided into the seven main genotypes and more than 100 different subtypes. Genotypes have more than 30% differences in their nucleotide sequences in most similar species differences between nucleotide sequences is 20% . Prevalence and distribution of HCV genotyping is different in several geographic regions. Genotype-1 is more present in developed countries such as European or North American countries, for instance HCV-1 is common in 60% to 70% of patients in USA. HCV-2 was more prevalent among middle and west of Africa, and HCV-3 is most prevalent in Far East countries and India. Genotypes 4, 5, and 6 have more prevalence in specific endemic geographical regions. HCV-4 is more prevalent in Egypt and sub-Sahara region, HCV-5 in South Africa and HCV-6 is more prevalent in China and Southeast Asian countries . On the other hand, HCV-1, HCV-2, and HCV-3 have global prevalence around the world, and HCV-4, HCV-5, and HCV-6 have limited prevalence for example, HCV-4 is more prevalent in Arabic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and recently in specific parts of Europe . HCV-5 is limited to South Africa, and HCV-6 is more prevalent in southeast countries, including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan . HCV-3 in Pakistan and HCV-1 and HCV-3 in Iran were more common . In one study on Iranian peoples in South of Iran, 1a , 1b , and 3a had more prevalence, respectively . genotype 7 HCV infection reported from Canada that isolated from central immigrant .
How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact. It is very infectious and the virus can stay alive outside the body for up to several weeks.
The infection can be spread by:
sharing needles and syringes, particularly when injecting drugs
medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised
the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment
sharing contaminated razors, toothbrushes or towels .
It can be transmitted sexually, especially during anal sex or other types of sex that may involve blood, although this is less common. Sharing uncovered or unwashed sex toys can also pass it on.
The risk of hepatitis C infection is increased when you have another STI especially one that causes sores. People with HIV are also more likely to get hepatitis C.
The virus can also be passed on from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. For more details on hepatitis C in pregnancy read our in detail tab.
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Hepatitis C And Injecting Drugs
If you inject drugs, avoid sharing needles, syringes or other equipment such as tourniquets, spoons, swabs or water.
Where possible, always use sterile needles and syringes. These are available free of charge from needle and syringe programs and some pharmacists. To find out where you can obtain free needles, syringes and other injecting equipment, contact DirectLine
Try to wash your hands before and after injecting. If you cant do this, use hand sanitiser or alcohol swabs from a needle and syringe program service.