The ABCs of Hepatitis

  Hepatitis A (HAV) Hepatitis B (HBV) Hepatitis C (HCV) Hepatitis D (HDV) Hepatitis E (HEV)
What is it? HAV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It does not lead to chronic disease. HBV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. The virus can cause liver cell damage, leading to cirrhosis and cancer. HCV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. This infection can lead to cirrhosis and cancer. HDV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It only infects those persons with HBV. HEV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is rare in the U.S. There is no chronic state.
Incubation Period 15 to 50 days. Average 30 days. 4 to 25 weeks. Average 8 to 12 weeks. 2 to 25 weeks. Average 7 to 9 weeks. 4 to 26 weeks. 2 to 9 weeks. Average 40 days.
How is it spread?
  • Transmitted by fecal/oral route
  • Through close person to person contact
  • Ingestion of contaminated food and water
  • Contact with infected blood, seminal fluid, and vaginal secretions.
  • Sex contact
  • Contaminated needles
  • Tattoo/body piercing and other sharp instruments
  • Infected mother to newborn
  • Human bite
  • Contact with infected blood
  • Contaminated IV needles or razors
  • Tattoo/body piercing and other sharp instruments
  • Infected mother to newborn

It is not easily transmitted through sex.

  • Contact with infected blood, contaminated needles
  • Sexual contact with HDV infected person
  • Transmitted through fecal/oral route
  • Outbreaks associated with contaminated water supply in other countries.
Symptoms May have no symptoms. Adults may have light stools, dark urine, fatigue, fever and jaundice. May have no symptoms. Some persons have mild flu-like symptoms, dark urine, light stools, jaundice, fatigue and fever. Same as HBV Same as HBV Same as HBV
Treatment of Chronic Disease Not applicable. Interferon is effective in up to 35-45% of those treated. Interferon is effective in 10-20% of those treated. Interferon with varying success. Not applicable.
Vaccine Two doses of vaccine to anyone over the age of two. Three doses may be given to persons of any age. None None None
Who is at risk?
  • Household or sex contact with an infected person or living in an area with HAV outbreak
  • Travelers to developing countries
  • Homosexual men
  • IV drug users
  • Infants born to infected mother
  • Having sex with infected person or multiple partners
  • IV drug users
  • Emergency responders and healthcare workers
  • Homosexual men
  • Hemodialysis patients.
  • Anyone who had a blood transfusion before 1990
  • Healthcare workers
  • IV drug users
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • Infants born to infected mother
  • Multiple sex partners
  • IV drug users
  • Homosexual men
  • Those haveing sex with a HDV infected person.
  • Travelers to developing countries
Prevention
  • Immune Globulin or vaccination
  • Wash hands after going to the toilet
  • Clean surfaces contaminated with feces, such as changing tables.
  • Vaccination and safe sex
  • Clean up any infected blood with bleach and wear protected gloves
  • Do not share razors or toothbrushes
  • Safe sex
  • Clean up spilled blood with bleach
  • Wear gloves when touching blood
  • Do not share razors or toothbrushes
  • Hepatitis B vaccine to prevent HBV infection
  • Safe sex
  • Avoid drinking or using potentially contaminated water
HEPATITIS FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL
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