Hepatitis is most simply defined as an inflammation of the human liver.
Hepatitis has various causes. It can come from a viral infection, an attack by parasites, a transfusion of impure blood, or unhealthy substances that are introduced into the human body like alcohol, drugs, or toxins.
Hepatitis may or may not be a serious health threat. However, hepatitis, in certain circumstances, can become chronic and can even lead to liver failure and death.
Are there different types of hepatitis?
Yes, there are several types of hepatitis, and they’re given alphabetical names.
Hepatitis A usually comes from bad food that contains the hepatitis A virus, which causes an infection in the liver. Hepatitis A is highly contagious, but it doesn’t cause chronic liver disease. A vaccine for hepatitis A is available.
Hepatitis B used to be called serum hepatitis. Hepatitis B is a blood-borne viral disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (also known as HBV). Hepatitis B can be life threatening. It can be acute or chronic. About 10 percent of acute hepatitis B cases progress to the chronic stage. A hepatitis B vaccine is available.
Hepatitis C is a potentially life threatening disease. In hepatitis C, the liver becomes inflammed and liver function is compromised. Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (which is also known as HCV). The hepatitis C virus is contagious and is found in the blood and bodily fluids of people who have been infected.
How is the hepatitis virus transmitted?
Hepatitis C transmission often occurs through sexual contact or through drug injection using contaminated needles.
There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.