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A staggering 95% of people infected with hepatitis B or C around the world do not know they are infected. One reason for this is that people can live without symptoms for many years. When they find out they have hepatitis, it is often too late for treatment to be fully effective. As a result, liver damage becomes cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Viruses that primarily attack the liver are called hepatitis viruses. There are several types of hepatitis viruses including types A, B, C, D, E, and possibly G. Types A, B, and C are the most common and the most dangerous type of hepatitis.


Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
There are 5 main hepatitis viruses,
Referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is present in the faeces of infected persons and is most often transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. Certain sex practices can also spread HAV.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids. HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood. This may happen through transfusions of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common. There is no vaccine for HCV.
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV. The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in a more serious disease and worse outcome. Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from HDV infection.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is mostly transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. HEV is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in developing parts of the world and is increasingly recognized as an important cause of disease in developed countries.

Risk factors of all form of hepatitis.


Being vaccinated against viral hepatitis, specifically HAV and HBV7
Having an acute or chronic infection with one or more hepatitis viruses.
Having an autoimmune disorder, such as autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy (APECE).

  • Poor sanitation;
  • Lack of safe water and inproper personal hygiene.
  • Being a sexual partner of someone with acute hepatitis A infection;
  • Use of recreational drugs;
  • Sex between men;
  • Travelling to areas of high endemicity without being immunized.
  • Have unprotected sex with multiple partners
  • Living together with chronic HBV infected patient.
  • Are an infant born to an infected mother.
  • Workers in the health care professions
  • Asians and Pacific Islanders
  • Sewage and water treatment workers.

What are the Symptoms of Viral Hepatitis?

Many people with hepatitis will not have any symptoms at all. When they do occur, symptoms of all three of the most common types of hepatitis are very similar and may include:

  •  Dark urine
  • Stomach pain
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes, which may be sign of jaundice
  •  Pale or clay-colored stool.
  •  Low-grade fever.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Feelingsick to the stomach.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis?

Viral hepatitis, such as hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV), is diagnosed by your symptoms, a physical exam and blood tests. Sometimes imaging studies such as a sonogram or CAT scan and a liver biopsy are also used.

Preventive measures of all form of hepatitis:

  • Avoid “street” food.
  • Only drink bottled water and use it to brush your teeth. You can also boil your tap water for at least 1 minute.
  • Don’t sip on cocktails and other drinks with ice cubes.
  • Skip dairy products and undercooked meat and fish.
  • Don’t order salads or fresh fruit from restaurants, since you don’t know if it was washed with clean water.
  • Peel and wash your own greens using bottled water.
  • Wash your hands well after you go to the restroom, change diapers, or before you eat or serve food.
  • Don’t share toothbrushes or razors.
  • Don’t use someone else’s needle if you inject illicit drugs.
  • Only get tattoos and piercings from shops that can show you how they sterilize their gear.
  • Use a latex or polyurethane condom when you have sex.
  • Proper health education.


As community health practitioner, use standing orders to managed all form of hepatitis best on your limitation and refer the ones that beyond your limitation and make sure you provide pre-referal treatment and accompanied the unconscious patient to the referal center.
Visit nearest health facility when you experience any symptoms of all form of hepatitis.

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Halliru Yusuf Musa.
Registered Community Health Officer.

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