What Are The Risk Factors For Hepatitis B And C
Hepatitis B: Although most commonly acquired early in life, adults can also contract it. Hepatitis B is largely transmitted through bodily fluids. It can be passed at birth from a hepatitis B-infected mother or through exposure in early childhood to body fluids, blood or contaminated medical instruments. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted through intranasal and injection drug use as well as infected tools used during tattooing and body piercing.
Hepatitis C: The key risk factors are also intranasal and injection drug use, tattoos and body piercings, high-risk sexual contact, blood transfusions before 1992 and organ transplantation.
Another key risk factor for hepatitis C is being born from 1945 to 1965, during the baby-boom years. Eighty percent of all people who currently have hepatitis C in the United States were born in that timeframe.
Although the reasons that baby boomers are more likely to have hepatitis C than others arent entirely understood, its believed that most were infected in the 1970s and 1980s, when rates of hepatitis C were at their peak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all U.S. adults born from 1945 to 1965 undergo a one-time screening test for hepatitis C. Connecticut is one of several states that has written this recommendation into law. In Connecticut ,the law requires that primary care clinicians screen all adults born within those years.
How Do You Get Hepatitis A
The main way you get hepatitis A is when you eat or drink something that has the hep A virus in it. A lot of times this happens in a restaurant. If an infected worker there doesn’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom, and then touches food, they could pass the disease to you.
Food or drinks you buy at the supermarket can sometimes cause the disease, too. The ones most likely to get contaminated are:
- Ice and water
Another way you can get hep A is when you have sex with someone who has it.
Factors To Consider Prior To Choosing Initial Treatment Regimen
For persons chronically infected with genotype 3 hepatitis C, four factors should be considered when choosing the initial treatment regimen and duration: the presence of baseline NS5A-resistance-associated substitution Y93H , presence or absence of cirrhosis, drug interactions, and cost and/or insurance considerations.
Also Check: Current Treatment For Hepatitis C
What Is The Prognosis For Someone Who Has Hepatitis C
You can continue to lead an active life even if you are diagnosed with hepatitis C. People with the disease can work and continue their regular daily activities. However, it is very important that you see a specialist as soon as you are diagnosed with hepatitis C. There are many treatments available that can cure the virus.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, patients should:
Our Areas Of Innovation For Hepatitis
Liver biopsies provide a great deal of information about the extent of damage in a childs liver, but the procedure is invasive and can be both painful and risky. Researchers at Boston Childrens use an ultrasound-based imaging technology called FibroScan that may be able to help doctors assess liver scarring without a liver biopsy.
Don’t Miss: How Contagious Is Hepatitis C
What Is Hep C
Regardless of the type of Hep C which a patient may have contracted, the illness follows a fairly distinct progression and impact on health. The virus is thought to have evolved over several thousand years, as is evidenced in the geographical consistency with the Hep C genotypes across the world. The result of the illness is still an inflammation of the liver that can lead to a number of systemic problems that impact health.
The most common outcomes for individuals who have Hepatitis C include:
- Liver damage or liver cancer which can come as a direct result of the chronic inflammation to the organ.
- Low energy this arises due to the fact that the virus impedes the liver in processing nutrients and sugars to sustain metabolic actions.
- Low clotting factor the liver is also responsible for manufacturing proteins that allow the blood to clot. Impaired function can result in comorbid conditions such as anemia and hemophelia.
- Digestive trouble poor nutrient absorption, nausea and diarrhea, and gastric upset can also be the result of Hep C since the liver is integral to producing enzymes that aid in the digestive process.
Contaminated Needles And Infected Blood
You can get hepatitis C from sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment during recreational drug use. Banknotes and straws used for snorting may also pass the virus on.
Being exposed to unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment can also pass hepatitis C on. Occasionally, you can get it from sharing a towel, razor blades or a toothbrush if there is infected blood on them.
Hepatitis C infection is also passed on in healthcare settings, from needle stick injuries or from medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised. In countries where blood products are not routinely screened, you can also get hepatitis C by receiving a transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
You can prevent hepatitis C by:
- never sharing needles and syringes or other items that may be contaminated with infected blood
- only having tattoos, body piercings or acupuncture in a professional setting, where new, sterile needles are used
- following the standard infection control precautions, if youre working in a healthcare setting.
Recommended Reading: What Is Hepatitis B Virus
What Are Hepatitis C Genotypes
A variable for those with chronic hepatitis C virus is the genotype, or the strain of the virus when they contracted an infection. The genotype is determined by a blood test.
The genotype doesnt necessarily play a role in progression of the virus, but rather as a factor in selecting the right medications for treating it.
According to the
How Long Do The Hepatitis A And B Vaccines Protect You
During your lifetime, you need:
- One series of the hepatitis A vaccine
- One series of the hepatitis B vaccine
Most people dont need a booster dose of either vaccine. But if you have had dialysis, a medical procedure to clean your blood, or have a weakened immune system, your doctor might recommend additional doses of the hepatitis B vaccine.
Recommended Reading: Common Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
Chronic Infection Of Hepatitis C
Chronic Hep C is generally considered to be any infection that has lasted more than six months. At this point, the viral load has built up in the bloodstream and is beginning to cause more noticeable damage to the liver. While some of the symptoms that are experienced can be attributed to toxins building up in the body, these are all as a direct result of a chronic infection of Hep C.
At this stage, patients will begin to recognize a basic feeling of being unwell and can also show other symptoms that are associated with the disease. These can include:
- Feeling sick
- Cognitive and memory problems
- Persistent aches in the joints
Research shows that continued progression of chronic infections of Hepatitis C can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
How Is Hepatitis Contracted
There are various ways of contracting hepatitis, depending on the type. Contracting a viral form of hepatitis depends on the mode of transmission, which the table above shows.
A person may sometimes contract hepatitis nonvirally. In autoimmune hepatitis, the immune system attacks the liver cells. Ingesting substances that contain toxins, such as alcohol, can also induce some types of hepatitis.
A doctor may use a blood test to diagnose viral hepatitis.
A healthcare professional will check a persons blood for:
- HAV-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies to diagnose HAV
- the surface antigen HBsAg to diagnose HBV
- anti-HCV antibodies to diagnose HCV
- high immunoglobulin G and anti-HDV immunoglobulin M levels to diagnose HDV
- virusspecific IgM antibodies to identify HEV
To autoimmune hepatitis, a doctor may consider:
Read Also: How Much Is A Hepatitis A Shot
How Many People Have Hepatitis C
During 2013-2016 it was estimated that about two and half million people were chronically infected with HCV in the United States. The actual number may be as low as 2.0 million or as high as 2.8 million.Globally, hepatitis C is a common blood-borne infection with an estimated 71 million people chronically infected according to the World Health Organization .
What Are The Types Of Hepatitis C Infection
There are two types of hepatitis C infection:
- Acute: a short-term infection that occurs within 6 months after a person is exposed to the virus. However, about 75 to 85 percent of people with the acute form go on to develop the chronic form.
- Chronic: a long-term illness that can continue throughout a persons life. It can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and other serious problems, such as liver failure or cancer. About 15,000 people a year die from liver disease associated with hepatitis C.
Read Also: Is Hepatitis B And Hiv The Same Thing
What Causes Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus causes hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood. Contact can occur by
- sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
- getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
- being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not kept sterilefree from all viruses and other microorganismsand were used on an infected person before they were used on you
- having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
- being born to a mother with hepatitis C
- having unprotected sex with an infected person
You cant get hepatitis C from
- being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person
- drinking water or eating food
- hugging an infected person
- shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
- sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
- sitting next to an infected person
A baby cant get hepatitis C from breast milk.18
How Many Types Of Hepatitis Are There
If you or a loved one are living with hepatitis, you might be wondering what is the difference between hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E? Which is the most dangerous?
While hepatitis is complex, the word simply means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by numerous things including diet, alcohol, medications, viruses and lifestyle. When we think of hepatitis, many of us think about hepatitis A, B, and C, but hepatitis D and E are also viruses that cause liver inflammation.
Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E differ from one virus to the other and have varying degrees of severity.
Hepatitis A causes acute inflammation of the liver that almost always resolves on its own. This type of hepatitis can easily spread to many people through contaminated food and water. Hepatitis A can be prevented by vaccination.
Hepatitis B can be both acute and chronic. This type of hepatitis is spread through blood or bodily fluids in various ways. Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination.
Hepatitis C is, in most cases a chronic disease. It spreads mainly by blood. While hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination, hepatitis C cannot.
Hepatitis D and E are rare in the United States. Hepatitis D can only be acquired if the individual already has hepatitis B. Meanwhile, hepatitis E is most commonly found in countries lacking clean water and sanitation.
Also Check: The Early Signs Of Hepatitis C
How Do You Treat Hepatitis B
Like hepatitis A, medical treatment for acute hepatitis B is focused on getting plenty of rest and fluids and eating a healthy diet, although sometimes antiviral drugs are recommended for severe cases to help prevent liver failure. Patients with chronic hepatitis B may be given an oral antiviral drug to control the viral infection and minimize liver damage. These drugs are effective, but they rarely cure chronic hepatitis B. Therefore, these medications often have to be taken for life.
How Is Viral Hepatitis Prevented
Prevention of hepatitis involves measures to avoid exposure to the viruses, using immunoglobulin in the event of exposure, and vaccines. Administration of immunoglobulin is called passive protection because antibodies from patients who have had viral hepatitis are given to the patient. Vaccination is called active protection because killed viruses or non-infectious components of viruses are given to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies.
Avoidance of exposure to viruses
Prevention of viral hepatitis, like any other illness, is preferable to reliance upon treatment. Taking precautions to prevent exposure to another individual’s blood , semen , and other bodily secretions and waste will help prevent the spread of all of these viruses.
Use of immunoglobulins
Immune serum globulin is human serum that contains antibodies to hepatitis A. ISG can be administered to prevent infection in individuals who have been exposed to hepatitis A. ISG works immediately upon administration, and the duration of protection is several months. ISG usually is given to travelers to regions of the world where there are high rates of hepatitis A infection and to close or household contacts of patients with hepatitis A infection. ISG is safe with few side effects.
Individuals at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A are:
Some local health authorities or private companies may require hepatitis A vaccination for food handlers.
Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for:
Also Check: How Can A Person Get Hepatitis
Cost Of Hepatitis C Medicines
The newer direct-acting antiviral medicines for hepatitis C can be costly. Most government and private health insurance prescription drug plans provide some coverage for these medicines. Talk with your doctor about your health insurance coverage for hepatitis C medicines.
Drug companies, nonprofit organizations, and some states offer programs that can help pay for hepatitis C medicines. If you need help paying for medicines, talk with your doctor. Learn more about financial help for hepatitis C medicines.
Who Is More Likely To Get Hepatitis C
People more likely to get hepatitis C are those who
- have injected drugs
- had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987
- have been on kidney dialysis
- have been in contact with blood or infected needles at work
- have had tattoos or body piercings
- have worked or lived in a prison
- were born to a mother with hepatitis C
- are infected with HIV
- have had more than one sex partner in the last 6 months or have a history of sexually transmitted disease
- are men who have or had sex with men
In the United States, injecting drugs is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.13
You May Like: Can Hepatitis B Be Cured With Antibiotics
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Been Exposed To Viral Hepatitis
- If you may have been exposed to hepatitis A or B, your doctor may recommend getting a vaccine to keep you from getting the infection.22,23
- The CDC recommends that people who are exposed to hepatitis C, such as a health care worker after an accidental needle stick, get tested for hepatitis C infection.18 New antiviral medicines for hepatitis C cure most of the people who take them. If you have health insurance, ask about your copay and coinsurance and which medicines are covered under your plan.
Also Check: How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis B
Types Of Hepatitis: A B And C
Mostly, this condition develops due to viral infection. If a person develops hepatitis due to a viral infection, its called viral hepatitis. Of five types of hepatitis, the most commonplace in the US are A, B and C.
Well break down each of these types so you can make informed decisions and take care of yourself and your loved ones.
You May Like: Hepatitis C Virus Symptoms And Treatment
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.
Symptoms Of Viral Hepatitis
When an individual is infected by one of these viruses it can result in acute hepatitis, which initially manifests with a similar clinical picture as that of flu, the symptoms being tiredness, fever and muscle aches. This may be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea or gastric discomfort and finally specific clinical signs of hepatitis may develop with the appearance of:
Yellow coloration of the skin and mucous membranes .
Dark brown or Coca-Cola coloured urine .
A whitish coloration of the faeces .
In a large proportion of cases hepatitis virus infections do not produce any symptoms and go totally unnoticed, the diagnosis is only made by chance if a test is performed at the right time. This disease pattern is called subclinical or asymptomatic hepatitis.
If the infection becomes chronic, it tends to course with very few symptoms. Some patients note a lack of concentration, tiredness, discomfort in the abdomen and in cases of advanced disease they may experience jaundice and an accumulation of fluid in the legs or abdomen. Other patients do not have any symptoms whatsoever and therefore follow a completely normal life.
The fact that cases of viral hepatitis are usually asymptomatic highlights the importance of performing regular blood tests and ruling out the presence of hepatitis in the event of altered liver function or a background of risk factors for transmission.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Hepatitis A