“Know The Difference Between Hepatitis A, B, And C” – CDC Says

by Kim Boateng Posted on May 29th, 2018

Atlanta, Georgia, USA: “Do you know the difference between #Hepatitis A, B, and C? Each one has different causes, treatments, and impacts on your health. Learn what to look for” the The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote in a public post today, Tuesday. #HepAware

According to the CDC, more than four million people in the United States are living with viral hepatitis and most don’t know it.

Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe, effective vaccine. Many people got infected with hepatitis B before the vaccine was widely available. Treatments are available that can cure hepatitis C.

CDC issued the following guidance on Viral Hepatitis citing the Division of Viral Hepatitis and National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention as the source of it’s content.

What is Viral Hepatitis?

“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C

Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Hepatitis C
What causes Hepatitis? Hepatitis A virus Hepatitis B virus Hepatitis C virus
Number of U.S. cases About 4,000 new infections each year Estimated 850,000 – 2.2 million people living with chronic hepatitis B. Estimated 3.5 million people living with chronic hepatitis C.
About 21,000 new infections each year About 41.000 new infections each year
Key facts about Hepatitis Effective vaccine available About 2 in 3 people with Hepatitis B do not know they are infected About 50% of people with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected
Outbreaks still occur in the United States 1 in 12 Asian Americans has chronic Hepatitis B 3 in 4 people with Hepatitis C were born from 1945-1965
Common in many countries, especially those without modern sanitation Hepatitis B is a leading cause of liver cancer Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver transplants and liver cancer
How long does Hepatitis last? Hepatitis A can last from a few weeks to several months. Hepatitis B can range from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks, to a serious life-long or chronic condition. Hepatitis C can range from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks, to a serious life-long infection. Most people who get infected develop chronic Hepatitis C.
More than 90% of unimmunized infants who get infected develop a chronic infection occurs, whereas 6%–10% of older children and adults who get infected develop chronic Hepatitis B.
How is Hepatitis spread? Hepatitis A is spread when a person ingests fecal matter—even in microscopic amounts—from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person. Hepatitis B is primarily spread when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus – even in microscopic amounts – enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus – even in microscopic amounts – enters the body of someone who is not infected.
The Hepatitis B virus can also be transmitted from: This can happen through multiple ways including:
Birth to an infected mother Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles and syringes
Sex with an infected person Receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992 (when widespread screening virtually eliminated Hepatitis C from the blood supply)
Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles, syringes, and even medical equipment, such as glucose monitors Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities
Sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors
Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities
Who should be vaccinated for Hepatitis? All children at age 1 All infants at birth There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C.
Travelers to regions where Hepatitis A is common Unvaccinated adults with diabetes
Family and caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where Hepatitis A is common Uninfected household members and sexual partners with Hepatitis B
Men who have sex with men Persons with multiple sex partners
Users of certain recreation  drugs, whether injected or not Persons seeking evaluation or treatment for an STD
People with certain medical conditions including chronic liver disease, clotting-factor disorders Men who have sex with men
People who inject drugs
People with certain medical conditions, including HIV, chronic liver disease
Travelers to regions where Hepatitis B is common
How serious is Hepatitis? People can be sick for a few weeks to a few months The risk for chronic infection depends on age when infected. When infected as an infant, 90% will develop a chronic infection 75%-85% of people who get infected with the Hepatitis C virus develop a chronic  infection
Most recover with no lasting liver damage 15%–25% of chronically infected people develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer 5%-20% of people with chronic Hepatitis C develop cirrhosis
Although very rare, death can occur 1%–5% will die from cirrhosis or liver cancer
Treatment for Hepatitis Supportive treatment for symptoms Acute: No medication available; best addressed through supportive care Acute: Antivirals and supportive care
Chronic: Regular monitoring for signs of liver disease progression; some patients are treated with antiviral drugs Chronic: Regular monitoring for signs of liver disease progression; Some patients are treated with antiviral drugs including new medications that can cure Hepatitis C and offer shorter length of treatment and increased effectiveness.
Who should be tested for Hepatitis? Testing for Hepatitis A is not routinely recommended. People born in regions with moderate or high rates of Hepatitis B People born during 1945-1965
U.S.–born people not vaccinated as infants whose parents were born in regions with high rates of Hepatitis B
Household, needle-sharing, or sex contacts of anyone with Hepatitis B Recipients of clotting factor concentrates before 1987
Men who have s** with men Recipients of blood transfusions or donated organs before July 1992
People who inject drugs People who have injected drugs
Patients with abnormal liver tests Long-term hemodialysis patients
Hemodialysis patients People with known exposures to Hepatitis C (e.g., healthcare workers after needlesticks, recipients of blood or organs from a donor who later tested positive for Hepatitis C)
People needing immunosuppressive or cytotoxic therapy HIV-infected persons
HIV-infected people People with signs or symptoms of liver disease
All pregnant women
Symptoms of Hepatitis: Many people with hepatitis do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. If symptoms occur with an acute infection, they can appear anytime from 2 weeks to 6 months after exposure. Symptoms of chronic viral hepatitis can take decades to develop.
Symptoms of hepatitis can include:  fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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