What do you know about Hepatitis? Describe its types and write down preventive measures


Written By Khansa Yousaf

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It is usually caused by a viral infection, toxic agents or drugs. Autoimmune diseases can also cause Hepatitis. It is characterized by jaundice, liver enlargement, abdominal pain, fatigue, and sometimes fever. The condition may be mild or can be acute and can lead to liver cancer. Scientists have classified the Hepatitis Virus into five categories: A, B, C, D, and E. No doubt, all types of Hepatitis virus are of great concern due to the burden of illness and death, but type B and C are the most severe, which lead to chronic diseases in millions of people. As per the World Health Organization (WHO)’s report, 325 million people – 9 times the number of people living with HIV – are infected with Hepatitis B and C around the globe.

Types of Hepatitis and Preventive Measures:

Hepatitis A: 

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease caused by Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) that is often transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infected person. Most people living in areas with poor sanitation are infected with the virus. In many cases, infections are mild, but they can also be severe and life-threatening. A safe and effective vaccine is available to prevent HAV.

A person can avoid HAV by taking safe and clean water, by taking hygienic food, by improving sanitation system, and by washing hands properly.

Hepatitis B: 

Hepatitis B is also a viral infection. It attacks the liver and can cause either acute or chronic disease. Unlike HAV, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is transmitted through contact with blood or other body fluids of the infected person. Besides, it is transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth. It is an important occupational hazard for health workers who uphold needle stick injuries during the treatment of HBV infected patients.

It can be prevented by taking the currently available safe and effective vaccine, along with, by adopting hygienic measures and by screening the blood of the donor.

Hepatitis C: 

Hepatitis C disease is caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), which is a blood-borne virus. Common modes of virus transmission are unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and transfusion of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products. One of the major causes of liver cancer is Hepatitis C.

Though there is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C, yet Antiviral medicines can cure approximately 90% Hepatitis C patients.

Hepatitis D

It is caused by the Hepatitis D Virus (HDV). The virus is transmitted similar to HBV and HCV. The virus mostly attacks those people who are already infected with HBV, which results in the most complicated and serious disease. The only method to prevent from HDV virus is Hepatitis B vaccine.

Hepatitis E:

It is also a viral liver infection caused by the Hepatitis E Virus (HEV). Like HAV, the HEV is also transmitted through contaminated food and water. The disease is found worldwide, but the people of East and South Asia are mostly affected. A vaccine for HEV is developed in China, but it is not available elsewhere. However, at an individual level, infection risk can be prevented by maintaining hygienic practices.

Source CSS GSA Past Paper 2020

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