What Is Causing The Recent Hepatitis Clusters
Hepatitis can have many causes, from autoimmune disease to side effects of certain medications. Most often, it is caused by one of the five hepatitis viruses . Depending on the type, viral hepatitis can spread through contact with blood and other bodily fluids or fecal matter, or by consuming raw or undercooked meats. But viral hepatitis has been ruled out in the recent pediatric clusters in the United States and abroad.
Instead, the C.D.C. suspects that the adenovirus is causing the current cases, though health officials caution that the investigation is ongoing. There are more than 50 types of adenoviruses, which tend to cause mild illness, such as colds and fevers, pink eye or vomiting and diarrhea.
In Alabama, all nine children tested positive for adenovirus. And of the five cases that were genetically sequenced, all had adenovirus type 41, which typically causes vomiting and diarrhea. A majority of the affected children in Britain, though not all, tested positive for adenovirus as well.
Its interesting that were really only seeing this in children less than 10 years, meaning that most people over 10 have immunity to adenovirus, and that may be why this hepatitis is showing up in young children, said Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist and hospital epidemiologist with N.Y.U. Langone Health in New York City.
What Are The Different Types Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can be acute or chronic. How long you experience symptoms will depend on the type you have.
Acute hepatitis C involves more short-term symptoms that typically last 6 months or less but acute hepatitis often leads to chronic hepatitis. When hepatitis C lasts longer than 6 months, its considered chronic.
Without treatment, you may have chronic hepatitis your whole life, since your body often cant get rid of the virus easily. Some people do get better without treatment, although treatment can go a long way toward improving the outlook.
Hepatitis C wont necessarily become chronic.
As a matter of fact, for anywhere from 15 to 45 percent of people with acute hepatitis C, the virus will clear up without treatment. In other words, if you dont have any symptoms, hepatitis C could improve on its own before you ever know you have it.
However, if your body cant get rid of the hepatitis C virus, the infection wont go away. Instead, it will become chronic, or long-term.
Experts arent sure why some people develop the chronic form of the disease and others dont. But more than half of all people with the hepatitis C virus will eventually develop the chronic form, according to the
Since hepatitis C symptoms can resemble those of other health conditions, your symptoms alone if you have any may not make it clear that you have hepatitis C.
A doctor or other healthcare professional may recommend getting tested if you:
How Common Is Hepatitis C In The United States
In the United States, hepatitis C is the most common chronic viral infection found in blood and spread through contact with blood.14
Researchers estimate that about 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C.13 Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have this infection.
New screening efforts and more effective hepatitis C treatments are helping doctors identify and cure more people with the disease. With more screening and treatment, hepatitis C may become less common in the future. Researchers estimate that hepatitis C could be a rare disease in the United States by 2036.17
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Causes And Risk Factors
HCV causes hepatitis C. People contract the virus through blood-to-blood contact with contaminated blood. For transmission to occur, blood containing HCV must enter the body of a person without HCV.
A speck of blood, invisible to the naked eye, can carry hundreds of hepatitis C virus particles, and the virus is not easy to kill.
The report the following risk factors for developing hepatitis C:
- using or having used injectable drugs, which is currently the most common route in the U.S.
- receiving transfusions or organ transplants before 1992, which is before blood screening became available
- having exposure to a needle stick, which is most common in people who work in healthcare
- being born to a mother who has hepatitis C
The CDC offer advice on cleaning syringes if it is not possible to use clean and sterile ones. Although bleach can kill the HCV in syringes, it may not have the same effect on other equipment. Boiling, burning and using alcohol, peroxide, or other common cleaning fluids to wash equipment can reduce the amount of HCV but might not stop a person from contracting the infection.
It is extremely dangerous to inject bleach, disinfectant, or other cleaning products, so people should make sure they rinse the syringe thoroughly. A person should only ever use bleach to clean equipment if new, sterile syringes and equipment are not available.
People who are at risk due to these factors can have screening to rule out HCV.
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Who Should Be Tested
Testing for hepatitis A is not routinely recommended.
CDC recommends hepatitis B testing for:
- Men who have sex with men
- People who inject drugs
- Household and sexual contacts of people with hepatitis B
- People requiring immunosuppressive therapy
- People with end-stage renal disease
- People with hepatitis C
- People with elevated ALT levels
- Infants born to HBV-infected mothers
CDC recommends hepatitis C testing for:
- All adults aged 18 years and older
- All pregnant women during each pregnancy
- About 24,900 new infections each year
- About 22,600 new infections in 2018
- Estimated 862,000 people living with hepatitis B
- About 50,300 new infections in 2018
- Estimated 2.4 million people living with hepatitis C
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What Symptoms Should Parents Watch For
Hepatitis symptoms are wide-ranging and overlap with many common illnesses. A child with hepatitis may experience fever , fatigue, joint or muscle pain, loss of appetite or nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Children may also have abdominal pain or tenderness, particularly in the right upper abdomen, which is where the liver is located, Dr. Weymann said, and it is important to seek urgent medical attention any time a child shows sign of severe pain when their abdomen is touched. Doctors may consider other possible causes of abdominal pain, like appendicitis. Some children may have darker urine, or pale or clay-colored stools.
Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes, is a hallmark sign of hepatitis although it is possible to have significant liver inflammation and show no signs of jaundice.
The first change is in the eyes: The white part begins to look yellow, Dr. Weymann said.
He noted that it can be more difficult to detect jaundice in children who have darker skin, so parents should take even subtle changes in tone seriously.
Typically, one wont see dramatic jaundice until the inflammation or dysfunction of the liver has progressed quite far already, Dr. Weymann said.
Symptoms Of Infection With Hepatitis C
Symptoms of acute infection with hepatitis C
Acute infection is the period when you first contract the virus, during this period most people do not seem to experience any noticeable symptoms.
For the 25-35% of people who do, the symptoms are normally vague and non-specific.They can include: Abdominal pain Nausea and vomiting
About 20% of the people who develop symptoms experience jaundice. This can be seen in the yellowing of the skin and eyes. This is a sign of the livers functions being affected as bilirubin begins to build up in the body. Jaundice is a recognised sign of liver problems and may lead to a test for hepatitis C being suggested.The problem for most people is that they are unaware that they have been infected because of the lack of symptoms. As these symptoms are similar to many other short term infections most people are unlikely to seek medical attention.
And even when they do, most doctors will not necessarily suspect or test for hepatitis C.
Symptoms of chronic infection with hepatitis C
Chronic infection doesn’t mean that you have symptoms, chronic means that the infection is ongoing, that you are living with the virus.
The hepatitis C virus is associated with a wide spectrum of liver disease. This ranges from minor inflammation to cirrhosis, and in certain cases liver cancer.
Pains in the upper part of the abdomen
Dry eyes, irritable bowel and irritable bladder
Do not assume that all of your aches and pains are related to hepatitis.
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How To Lower Your Odds Of Infection
Thereâs no effective vaccine against HCV. Take some precautions in high-risk situations. If youâre a health care worker, be careful with blood. If you have sex with more than one partner, use condoms. And if you use drugs, donât share needles, syringes, or anything that goes up your nose.
Spouses, partners, and others in close contact with people who have hep C should not share toothbrushes and razors. If you have the disease, cover your wounds and throw out blood-soaked bandages, tampons, or pads. Donât let anyone else in the house touch them.
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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Hepatitis C Treatment Options
HCV is treated with the following medicines:
- Interferon, given by injection
- Ribavirin, given orally
- Combination of interferon and ribavirin
These medicines have limited success rates and may cause difficult side effects. Even with treatment, hepatitis C may not clear up within six months. Over a long period of time, chronic HCV can cause serious liver damage, and in rare cases a liver transplant may be necessary.
Fortunately, newer therapies are available for the treatment of HCV. The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved two direct-acting antiviral agents to treat adult patients with chronic HCV.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 be screened for HCV because 79 percent of all Americans with HCV were born in that time range.
The team of specialists at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases is at the forefront of the clinical trials of these therapies.
For more information, contact the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases at 1-800-447-1651.
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.
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The Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis is a type of inflammation that occurs in the liver. The ailment is most commonly caused by the hepatitis C virus. However, it could be caused by infection, toxins, medication, or autoimmune processes. If not detected during the early stages, it can become serious. But most people do not experience any symptoms, which is why it is hard to detect. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of hep C.
1. Early signs and symptoms of Hepatitis CAcute hepatitis can lead to a plethora of distressing symptoms. Many times, the symptoms are similar to that of the flu. A lot of people may not exhibit any symptoms at all.
The common symptoms of hep C include: fever fatigue nausea and vomiting pain in the belly dark urine and/or clay-colored stool jaundice, most commonly characterized by yellowish tinted skin and eyes loss of appetite pain in the joints. These symptoms can be experienced between 2 and 12 weeks after exposure to the virus. In case one experiences any of these symptoms, it is advisable to seek professional help immediately.
2. Chronic Hepatitis C SymptomsIf a persons condition does not get diagnosed and treated, they could have Hepatitis C for years without even knowing it. Doctors often term this condition as chronic as it lasts for a long time. People who have it for a long time usually end up getting liver cancer or scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis.
Medical Help For Treatment
Now that you know what the early warning signs of hepatitis C are, look back at your own health history. If you have been exposed, or have had a period where you had symptoms of hep C, call your doctor. Remember, according to the CDC, 8 out of 10 people with hep C will not experience symptoms. By getting a simple blood test, you can start treatment with the latest medications. Within weeks, you can be hep C free and your body can start healing.
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What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs.
Viruses invade normal cells in your body. Many viruses cause infections that can be spread from person to person. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood.
Hepatitis C can cause an acute or chronic infection.
Although no vaccine for hepatitis C is available, you can take steps to protect yourself from hepatitis C. If you have hepatitis C, talk with your doctor about treatment. Medicines can cure most cases of hepatitis C.
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Diagnosis Of The Hepatitis C Virus
Initially, the doctor will perform a blood test to determine whether or not there is any infection present. If an infection is detected, the doctor will then order an ultrasound test to see whether there are any signs of cirrhosis or liver cancer. In cases where ultrasound results are unclear, the doctor may order additional tests, such as a CT scan or MRI. For some patients, doctors may recommend a liver biopsy which involves inserting a thin needle through the abdominal wall to remove a small sample of liver tissue for laboratory testing. This is another method used for accurate diagnosis before treatment.
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Hepatitis C Early Warning Signs You Definitely Should Know
Because of its relatively late discovery, people born before the 70s and 80s are especially at risk because they were never tested for Hepatitis C. This is why they account for the majority of cases in the US, and are far more likely of being infected when compared to other age groups. For these reasons, its incredibly important to know how to identify the symptoms of this disease. The earlier Hepatitis C is detected, the sooner a proper diagnoses and treatment can begin.
As far as medical conditions go, Hepatitis C is a very modern one. Following research in the 70s, it was officially confirmed as a virus and published about in 1989. What was quickly apparent was that it was very dangerous because of how hard it is to diagnose early.
Early Warning Signs Of Hepatitis C
When it comes to treatable diseases and conditions, it is important to diagnose them at the right time. Diagnosing diseases in the nascent stages can provide the individual multiple treatment options and even increase the chances of survival.
One such disease is Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can cause inflammation in the liver and can cause permanent damage to the bodys organs. Hepatitis C manifests in two stages: acute hepatitis and chronic hepatitis. Acute hepatitis is the early stage of the disease, where individuals often experience a lack of signs and symptoms. Here are a few early signs and symptoms that should help you keep an eye out and get tested and diagnosed at the right time.
Other common and early signs of hepatitis C may include nausea and even vomiting. In the second or chronic stage of hepatitis C, individuals may experience easy bleeding, bruising, poor appetite, a buildup of fluid in their abdomen, swelling in the legs and feet, unintentional loss of weight, confusion, spider angiomas, causing spider-like veins and blood vessels on your skin, and even drowsiness along with slurred speech.
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Can Hepatitis C Be Cured
Unlike Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, a vaccine for Hepatitis C is not available.
However, treatment options are available and Hepatitis C may be cured .
Learn more about your treatment options and speak to your healthcare provider today.
The Hepatitis C virus is considered cured if the virus is not detected in your blood when measured with a blood test 3 months after treatment is completed. This is called a sustained virologic response and data suggest that you will stay virus free indefinitely.
Try to keep yourself as healthy as possible, keep your medical appointments and get regular check-ups. Remember that you could become re-infected if you expose yourself to high-risk situations such as injection drug use, and so do everything possible to avoid these situations. Speak with a substance abuse counselor if needed.