Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver. It is not a condition, but is often used to refer to a viral infection of the liver.
There are five types of hepatitis, A, B, C, D, and E.
1. Hepatitis A (HAV)
Hepatitis A, also called infectious hepatitis is a liver infection caused by a virus. It goes away on its own in almost all cases. Hepatitis A does not lead to long-term liver problems. It is the most common type.
The disease is caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is found in the stool of an infected person. It is spread when a person eats food or drinks water that has come with infected stool. The disease can spread in day centers. Worker can spread the virus if they don’t wash their hands well after changing a diaper.
Some things can raise your risk of getting hepatitis A, such as eating raw oysters or undercooked clams. If you’re traveling in a country where hepatitis A is common, you can lower your chances of getting the disease by avoiding uncooked foods and untreated tap water.
2. Hepatitis B (HBV)
Hepatitis B is spread mainly by exposure to infected blood or body secretions. In infected individuals, the virus can be found in the blood, semen, vagina discharge, breast milk, and saliva. Hepatitis B is not spread through food, water, or by casual contact.
In the United States, sexual contact is the most common means of transmission, followed by using contaminated needles for injecting illicit drugs, tattooing, body piercing, or acupuncture.
Hepatitis B also may be spread from infected mothers to their babies at birth (‘vertical’ transmission). This is the most prevalent means of transmission of hepatitis B rates high from mother to newborn is very high, and almost all infected infants will develop chronic hepatitis B. Fortunately, transmission can be significantly reduced through immunoprophylaxis.
3. Hepatitis C (HCV)
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the many viruses that can cause inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C is an increasing public health concern in the United States and throughout the world. It is believed to be the cause of about 15-20% of all cases of acute (new, short term) viral hepatitis and half of all cases of cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, and liver cancer.
At least 75% of people infected with hepatitis C. And about 4 million people in the United States have antibodies to HCV, meaning they have been infected with the virus at the same point, as many as half of them do not know they have the infection.
4. Hepatitis D (HDV)
Delta agent is a type of virus called hepatitis D that causes symptoms only in people who also have a hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis D (HDV) may make recent (acute) hepatitis B infection or an existing long-term (chronic) hepatitis B liver disease worse. It can even cause symptoms in people who carry hepatitis B virus but who never had symptoms.
Hepatitis D infects about 15 million people worldwide. It occurs in 5% of people who carry hepatitis B. Hepatitis D virus is an RNA virus that is structurally unrelated to hepatitis A, B, or C virus. It was discovered in 1977. HDV causes a unique infection that requires the assistance of viral particles from hepatitis B virus (HBV) to replicate and infect other hepatocytes. Its clinical course is varied and ranges from acute self-limited infection to acute fulminant liver failure. Chronic liver infection can lead to end-stage liver disease and associated complications.
5. Hepatitis E (HEV)
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an enterically transmitted infection that is typically self-limited. It is spread by focally contaminated water within endemic areas. Outbreaks can be epidemic and individual. Hepatitis E has many similarities with hepatitis A. Hepatitis E infection has recently been associated with chronic hepatitis in solid organ-transplant recipients.
Hepatitis E (HEV) was not recognized as a distinct human disease until 1980. Hepatitis E is caused by infection with the hepatitis E virus, a non-enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus.
Although man is considered the natural host for HEV, antibodies to HEV or closely related viruses have been detected in primates and several other animal species.