Hepatitis Essay

Topics: Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis Pages: 5 (1599 words) Published: February 23, 2013
Viral hepatitis are distinct diseases that affects and injures the liver due to the inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. They are caused by the contamination of food or water, the practice of unsafe sex, and by the usage of dirty syringes or needles. There are six known types of hepatitis, but the three which are most common include A-B-and C, as they cause about ninety percent of acute (lasts less than six months) hepatitis cases in Canada. Many people infected by this disease mistake it for the flu for its flu-like symptoms, or don’t notice it at all because it’s also possible to experience hepatitis with no symptoms at all. It is a lethal disease, as hepatitis B kills 500, 000 people alone each year. Many people have a complete recovery from this infection, while others unknowingly carry and spread it to other people (hc-sc.gv.ca).

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) was identified in 1973 and is an acute infectious disease of the liver and is most commonly passed on by the fecal-oral route by eating or drinking something that is contaminated. The virus is often caused by eating raw or undercooked food, food being handled by people who haven’t washed their hands, contaminated water by animals or human waste, or by sexual interaction with someone who’s already been infected. There are around 1.5 million diagnosed cases each year, with the incubation period ranging from 15-50 days, the average being around 28-30 days (hc-sc.gv.ca). Hepatitis A does not have a chronic stage and does not cause liver damage. Prevention from this virus can be by the Hepatitis A vaccination, and having a good hygiene. The vaccine has over a 95% rate against infection, and is given in two doses in the muscle of the upper arm. When the infection has occurred, the immune system generates antibodies against the HAV that protects the risk of additional infection. Therefore, people who have already recovered from Hepatitis A would not need a vaccine, as they are now immune to the disease (wikipedia.com). There is no specific treatment for HAV to date. But when infected, the best way to recover is by rest, a healthy diet, and staying hydrated. Generally, people infected by this disease do not hold it for life, as the body will try to fight off the virus naturally. Recovery time from symptoms commonly takes place within four to six weeks (webmd.com).

Hepatitis B (HBV) is the most common type of hepatitis in the world. It is caused by HBV, which taints the liver and causes inflammation labelled as hepatitis. More than two billion people world-wide have been affected by this virus, which includes three hundred and fifty million chronic cases. A staggering 1.5 million people die from hepatitis B each year. (beyonddiscovery.org). While hepatitis has been known about for centuries, doctors had only discovered the cause of the virus in 1963, where they believed it was spread through contact with infected bodily fluids (dummies.com). HBV is a hepadnavirus, and contains a circular genome made up by moderately double-stranded DNA. The virus would replicate through RNA by reverse transcription. Not only does the virus occur in the liver, but the disease also spreads to the blood where the anti-bodies of virus specific proteins are found in infected people (wikipedia.com). Hepatitis is obtained by engaging in unprotected sex, injection drug use, tattoos or piercings with un-sterilized equipment, usage of a toothbrush or razor of an affected person, exposure to blood or bodily fluids of infected people. If a woman happens to have hepatitis B, and becomes pregnant, the child will inherit this disease during birth, although a vaccination for the baby may help the infection (webmd.com). Just as hepatitis A, many people do not know they have obtained the virus because they have not felt any symptoms. If they happen to have symptoms, they most likely will mistake it for the flu since the indicators are about the same. A blood test is given to see if the...
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