The ABCs of Hepatitis


Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Most often, viruses cause hepatitis. There are five main hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E. Though all cause acute hepatitis, they spread in different ways. Some can turn into chronic hepatitis and lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

What’s the Difference Between the Hepatitis Viruses?

Viruses A, B, and C are the most common.

Virus

Transmission
How it typically spreads

 Prevention

 Is there a vaccine?

Hepatitis A

Eating food or drinking water contaminated with feces of an infected person

 Yes

Hepatitis B

Through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person (e.g., blood, saliva, semen, and vaginal fluid)

 Yes

Hepatitis C

Blood-to-blood contact from sharing needles with an infected person (e.g., injection drug use, tattoos, or body piercings)

 No

Hepatitis D

Through contact with infected blood and only found in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus

 Yes, D can be prevented with the B vaccine

Hepatitis E

Eating raw shellfish from sewage-contaminated water or through eating food or drinking water contaminated with feces of an infected person

 Yes*

 

 

*The hepatitis E vaccine is not widely available. Schedule an appointment with Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group to receive it.

Should You Get Screened for Hepatitis?

Unfortunately, many people with hepatitis don’t have symptoms. According to the Hepatitis Foundation, an estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with hepatitis, and most don’t know they are infected or how they got infected.

With hepatitis C cases on the rise, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends hepatitis C screening for high-risk people. Additionally, if you were born between 1945 and 1965, a one-time screening is recommended. Schedule your screenings and vaccinations with your Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group primary care physician.

 

Sources:

CDC | What is Viral Hepatitis

World Hepatitis Day | What is Hepatitis?

About Your Liver: What Is Hepatitis?

 

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