In 2004, the World Health Organisation also known as WHO, declared 28th of July to be the World Hepatitis Day, in order to motivate both governments and citizens in the fight against the disease.
Hepatitis is a viral liver disease and there are 5 types of it, A ,B ,C ,D and E caused by the viruses HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV and HEV accordingly, with type B and type C being the deadliest. According to the data from WHO, there are 1,45 million deaths caused by viral hepatitis, every year. The disease is considered to be a “silent killer” because it is asymptomatic during the early stages.
Different Types of Hepatitis
Hepatitis A can cause mild to severe illness and the risk of such infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and lack of safe water. However, it is rarely fatal because it does not cause chronic liver disease.
Hepatitis B is much more dangerous. It is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person and it can cause both acute and chronic disease. It is estimated that almost 5% of infected adults will develop chronic infection and 20-30% of them will develop cirrhosis and/or liver cancer.
Much like the B type, Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infection. It is mainly transmitted through unsafe injection practices so sharing or reusing needles can greatly increase the risk of spreading the disease. This is why drug addicts are in danger of being infected. Although there is an ongoing research, there is no vaccine at the moment.
Hepatitis D is transmitted through blood and other body fluids. HDV requires HBV for its replication so infection cannot occur in the absence of the latter. For that reason, the use of a vaccine against HVB is the safest way to prevent HDV infection.
Hepatitis E is mainly transmitted through contaminated water. It can cause fever, anorexia, nausea, vomiting in an early phase and hepatomegaly in a later phase of the disease. It is usually self-limiting so hospitalization is rarely needed.