Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a bacteria, virus or exposure to hepatotoxins or certain medications.

The treatment goals include resting the inflamed liver to reduce metabolic demands and increasing the blood supply, thus promoting cellular regeneration and preventing complications.

Types of Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis · Hepatitis A virus or infectious hepatitis

It is formerly known as infections hepatitis and is commonly seen during the fall and early winter. The individuals at risk are young children, individuals who are in institutionalized settings and the health care personnel.

Transmission is through oral-fecal route, person to person contact, eating of contaminated fruits, vegetables or uncooked shellfish.

· Hepatitis B virus or serum hepatitis

Hepatitis B is non-seasonal and it affects all age groups. The individuals at risk are drug addicts, clients undergoing long-term hemodyialysis and health care personnel.

Transmission is through blood or body fluid contact, contact with infected blood products, infected semen or saliva, contaminated needles, sexual contact and blood or body fluids contact at birth.

· Hepatitis C virus or non-A, non-B hepatitis or posttranfusion hepatitis

It occurs year-round and it can also occur at any age group. Infection is common among drug abusers and is the major cause of post transfusion hepatitis. Individuals at risk are parenteral drug users, clients receiving frequent transfusions and health care personnel.

· Hepatitis D virus or delta agent hepatitis

Hepatitis D is common in the Mediterranean and Middle East areas. Hepatitis D occurs with hepatitis B and may cause infection only in the presence of active Hepatitis B virus infection.

Transmission is the same with hepatitis B virus through contact with blood and blood products.

· Hepatitis E virus or epidemic non-A, non-B hepatitis

Hepatitis E is a waterborne virus. It is prevalent in areas where sewage disposal is inadequate or where communal bathing in contaminated rivers are practiced. The risk of infection is the same with Hepatitis A virus. The individuals at risk are travellers to countries that have high incidence of Hepatitis E such as India, Burma, Afghanistan, Algeria and Mexico.

· Hepatitis G virus or non-A, non-B, non-C hepatitis

In Hepatitis G, autoantibodies are absent. It has been found in some blood donors, IV drug users, hemodialysis patients and patients with haemophilia.

Stages of Viral Hepatitis

· Preicteric Stage

It is the first stage of hepatitis preceding the appearance of jaundice.

· Icteric Stage

It is the second stage of hepatitis which includes jaundice appearance and associated symptoms such as increased bilirubin levels, dark or tea-colored urine and clay-colored stools

· Posticteric Stage

The convalescent stage in which the jaundice decreases and the color of the urine and stool return to normal

Signs and Symptoms

· Preicteric Stage

· Flulike symptoms: fatigue and malaise

· Nausea and vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea

· Headache, polyarthritis and muscle pains

· Increased serum bilirubin and enzyme levels

· Icteric Stage

· Jaundice

· Pruritus

· Brown-colored urine

· Lighter-colored urine

· Decrease in preicteric stage symptoms

· Post icteric stage

· Increased levels in energy

· Subsiding of pain

· Minimal to absent gastrointestinal symptoms

· Serum bilirubin and enzyme levels returned to normal

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