November 21, 2012
Hepatitis Research Paper
The name of the disease Hepatitis, can be broken up into the word root “hepat,” which means liver, and the suffix “itis,” which means inflammation. Therefore, its name literally means inflammation of the liver (Frucht). It has several causes, some viral and some non-viral, and I will be discussing the specific types of viral hepatitis, the symptoms, and the prognosis of each. Hepatitis A (HAV) is a virus that is transmitted through fecal-oral contamination. It can survive on a contaminated surface for up to four hours, and in feces for up to four weeks. People who work with sewage are at high risk, since the virus is always found in sewer systems (Kennamer). It can survive temperatures of 140° F for up to 60 minutes so sewage treatment isn’t always effective. HAV from unsuccessfully treated sewage can survive in oysters for five days, so contaminated oyster beds have caused outbreaks. It is especially a risk for oysters that are consumed raw. Infected infants and young children are most likely to spread the disease, since it is spread through feces. In one epidemic, more than 15% of the people infected worked in daycares or cared for young children (Achord). It is usually asymptomatic, especially in young children, but when symptoms occur they include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, and general weakness. It never lasts longer than six months, and so it does not cause cirrhosis. Nausea usually goes away after 2-7 days, but if it doesn’t, anti-nausea medications are sometimes given to help prevent dehydration. There is no treatment that will shorten the course of the disease, and dehydration is the most common cause of hospitalization. The average mortality rate is around .3%. It is much higher in adults over 40, and much lower in young children. There are 140,000 cases in the U.S each year, and there are over 1,000,000 worldwide, even though there is an effective vaccine available (Achord). Three...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document