Types of Hepatitis

The inflammation of the liver that results in cell damage is known as Hepatitis. There can be acute hepatitis or chronic hepatitis and to date there are six main types of the hepatitis virus that have been identified.

The six main types of hepatitis virus are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, Hepatitis E, and Hepatitis G.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is the type that is spread by fecal-oral contact or fecal-infected food and water, or it may also in rare cases be spread by blood-borne infection.

Hepatitis A can be contracted when you consume food that somebody touched who had infected feces on their hands when they touched the food. You can get the hepatitis A virus by drinking water that is contaminated with infected feces. You can also get it by touching an infected person’s feces.

You may encounter large outbreaks of Hepatitis A in large childcare centers, when children are in diapers and caregivers do not wash their hands between diaper changes and there are children present with the disease.

You can also contract Hepatitis from sexual contact with a person who has the disease.

There is now a vaccine for Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

This hepatitis can be mild and present no symptoms, or it can be chronic, and in some cases even result in liver failure and death. You can contract the hepatitis B virus by way of blood and body fluid exposure such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or by saliva. An infant can also contract the disease when born to a woman who has the disease. A child who has hepatitis B can infect other children easily through the sharing of saliva, and also by direct contact through cuts and scrapes.

People who are at high risk for contracting Hepatitis B are those who are:

  • Born to mothers with hepatitis B
  • Born to mothers who have come from a country where hepatitis B is widespread (Asia, China).
  • Living in long-term facilities and who are disabled
  • Living in the same household as someone who has hepatitis B.
  • Hemophilia patients
  • Receiving dialysis for kidney failure
  • Using IV drugs or have unprotected heterosexual or homosexual sexual contact
  • In contact with blood products as part of their occupation

A vaccine for hepatitis is now in use as part of routine childhood immunization.

Hepatitis C

This virus shows mild if any symptoms and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hepatitis C is the leading cause for liver transplantation. At the present time no mode of transmission for hepatitis C has been identified. It is known that individuals that have alcoholic liver disease often get hepatitis C.

Other individuals at risk for hepatitis C include:

  • Babies born to moms who have the disease
  • People with blood clotting disorders such as hemophilia that received clotting factors prior to 1987
  • People who receive dialysis for kidney failure
  • Those individuals who received blood transfusions prior to 1992.
  • People who participate in high-risk activities such as IV drug usage, and unprotected sex with heterosexual or homosexual partners

There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis D

You can only get hepatitis D if you have hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E

Is similar to hepatitis A but is less common than hepatitis A. It is seen in poorly developed countries.

Hepatitis G

This is the newest strain of hepatitis and is thought to occur through blood transmission. It is common in IV drug users, those with clotting disorders, and those who require hemodialysis for renal failure. There are usually no clinical symptoms of hepatitis G.

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