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Hepatitis

Hepatitis And Its Effects

Hepatitis is a general term that means inflammation of the liver, hut it also refers to a group of viruses (A, B, C, D, and E) that cause liver inflammation through infection. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the need for liver transplants. About 4.4 million Americans live with chronic hepatitis and don’t know they are infected.

· Hepatitis viruses spread through physical contact with the blood or bodily fluid of an infected person. Of the five vi­ruses, B and C are the two most frequently transmitted through sexual activity, with Hepatitis B being the most prevalent. Most people don’t think of hepatitis as an STI; however, it ls estimated that as much as 30 percent of infec­tions result from sexual transmission.

Hepatitis B (HBV) is the world’s most common liver infection, affecting 240 million people chronically worldwide. HBV is reported to be SO to 100 times more infectious than HIV. Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or other bodily fluid enters the body through kissing and vagina!, anal, or oral sex. HBV can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during.

Symptoms Of Hepatitis

Hepatitis viruses travel through infected tissue into the blood and then to the liver, where they cause inflammation and cell damage. Hepatitis B can cause both acute and chronic liver inflammation. Only 50 percent of newly acquired infections produce symptoms, which include yellow coloration of the skin or eyes (jaundice), fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, tiredness, and nausea. The initial (acute) phase of infection lasts only a few weeks and then clears for the majority of people. Those who recover from the initial infection develop immunity to HBV, protecting them from future infection. Only a small number of people who do not recover from the infection develop chronic inflammation that can lead to disease and cancer in the liver.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Infection from HBV can be diagnosed by laboratory tests detecting the virus or antibodies against the virus in the blood. Hepatitis B is one of only two S’I’Is that can be success­fully prevented through vaccination. Since 1990, implemen­tation of routine vaccination at birth has resulted in a drastic 82 percent decline in rates of acute Hepatitis B, especially among children. The vaccine is administered in a three-dose series of injections to the muscle tissue of the shoulder over a period of months. It is recommended that all babies be vac­cinated at birth, as well as at-risk groups, including sexually active men and women, illicit drug users, health care work­ers, adoptees from countries where Hepatitis B is common, international travelers, and welfare volunteers.