Hepatitis A, B & C
Hepatitis A is inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the liver from the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is characterized by the destruction of a number of liver cells and the presence of inflammatory cells in the liver tissue. HAV is found mostly in the stools and blood of an infected person about 15-45 days before symptoms occur and during the first week of illness. You can contract hepatitis A if you eat or drink food or water that has been contaminated by stool (feces) containing the hepatitis A virus (fruits, vegetables, shellfish, ice, and water are common sources of the hepatitis A virus. You can come in contact with the stool or blood of a person who currently has the disease. A person with hepatitis A does not wash his or her hands properly after going to the bathroom and touches other objects or food. You can also contract it if you participate in sexual practices that involve oral-anal contact. A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household. Hepatitis A can cause: “flu-like” illness, jaundice, and severe stomach pains and diarrhea. During a physical examination the doctor might discover that you have an enlarged and tender liver and blood tests may show raised antibodies to hepatitis A and elevated liver enzymes, especially transaminase enzyme levels.
Hepatitis B is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the liver due to infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Most of the damage from the hepatitis B virus occurs because of the way the body responds to the infection. When the body’s immune system detects the infection, it sends out special cells to fight it off. However, these disease-fighting cells can lead to liver inflammation. Hepatitis B infection can spread through having contact with the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and other body fluids of someone who already has a hepatitis B infection. Infection can be spread through:...
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