Viral hepatitis: hepatitis A, B, C, D and E all explained in single table

Viral hepatitis is the inflammation and injury of the liver by hepatotropic (liver-loving) viruses like hepatitis A, B,C,D, E. Other causes of viral hepatitis are Epstein-Bar virus(EBV), cytomegalovirus, herpes virus, adenovirus(especially newborns), yellow fever virus(a serious cause of hepatitis in the tropics).

  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. It can cause liver cell damage, leading to cirrhosis and cancer. It is the commonest cause of viral hepatitis globally HCV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It can cause liver cell damage, leading 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.

Rarely it can cause chronic disease

Incubation period

2 to 7 weeks.

Average 4 weeks

6 to 23 weeks

Average 17 weeks

2 to 25 weeks

Average 7 to 9 wks.

2 to 8 weeks 2 to weeks.

Average 40 days.

How it is Spread?

Transmitted by fecal/oral (anal/oral sex) route, close person to person contact or ingestion of contaminated food and water. Hand to mouth after contact with feces, such as changing diapers. Contact with infected blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, contaminated, needles including tattoo and body – piercing tools. Infected mother to newborn. Human bite, sexual contact. Contact with infected blood, contaminated I. V. needles, razors, and tattoo and body-piercing tools, infected mother to newborn. Not easily spread through sex. Contact with infected blood, contaminated needles, sexual contact with HDV infected person Transmitted through fecal/oral route. Outbreaks associated with contaminated water.

The symptoms

Children may have none. Adults usually have light stools, dark urine, fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice. May have none. Some persons have mild flu like symptoms, dark urine, light stools, jaundice, fatigue and fever. Same as HBV Same as HBV Same as HAV

Vaccine

Two doses of vaccine to anyone over 1 years of age. Three doses may be given to persons of any age. None for HCV. Persons should receive Hepatitis A and B vaccines instead HBV vaccine prevents HDV infection None available.

Who is at Risk of viral hepatitis?

Household or sexual contact with an infected person or living in an area with HAV outbreak. Travelers to developing countries, persons engaging in anal/oral sex and injection drug users. Infants born to infected mother, having sex with an infected person or multiple partners, injection drug users, emergency in anal/oral sex, and hemodialysis patients, health care workers. Blood transfusion recipient before 1992, healthcare workers, injection drug users, hemodialysis patients, infants born to infected mother, multiple sex partners. Injection drug users, persons engaging in anal/oral sex and those having sex with an HDV infected patient. Travelers to developing countries, especially pregnant women.

Prevention

vaccination or immune Globulin within 2 weeks of exposure, washing hands with soap and water after going to the toilet. Use household bleach (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) surfaces with feces, such as changing tables. Safer sex. Vaccination provides protection for 20 plus years.Clean up households with bleach and wear protective gloves. Do not share razors, toothbrushes, or needles. Safer sex. Hepatitis B immune globulin for non-responders after exposure. Clean up spilled blood with household bleach. Wear gloves when touching blood. Do not share razors, toothbrushes, or needles with anyone. Safer sex. Hepatitis B vaccine to prevent HBV/HDV infection. Practice safe sex. Avoid drinking or using potentially contaminated water.

Please see other causes of hepatitis here

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