HEPATITIS A, B, C, D & E: Preventions and Treatments

HEPATITIS A, B, C, D & E: Preventions and Treatments

‘Hepa’ – means liver & ‘itis’ means inflammation/infection.

Hepatitis is infection / inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by various viruses and the liver may also be affected in various bacterial infections as well.

Viral Hepatitis is commonly caused by:

1.Hepatitis A
2.Hepatitis B
3.Hepatitis C
4.Hepatits D and E

Clinical features/ symptoms of all types of Viral Hepatitis include:

1.Yellow discoloration of eyes.
2.Dark, yellow colored urine.
3.Loss of appetite.
4.General symptoms like fever,weakness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting.
5.Enlargement of liver.

Hepatitis A,D & E: These are water and food borne diseases caused by orofecal transmission -of these, Hepatitis A is the commonest. This is most often seen when there is break in hygiene, viz food ,water or hand and nail hygiene.

This is commonly seen during summer and monsoon months.
1-Intake of contaminated water, food.
2-Food/ cut fruits/ fruit juices from street vendors, where hygiene is 100% suspect.
3-Break in nail and hand hygiene.
4-Not washing hands after using toilet.

1-Prevention is by:
Vaccination against Hepatitis A.This is given in two doses, 6 months apart, anytime after the age of 1 year.

2- Prevention is also by:
1. Drinking clean, potable water
2. Avoiding open street food
3. Keeping food and water covered to prevent contamination by flies.
4. Storing milk and milk products like, yogurt, cream, mayonnaise etc. in a cool and covered environment.
5. Washing hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
6. Keeping nails cut.
7. Avoid eating stale food, kept in the open, in hot and humid conditions- creating ideal conditions for viruses to thrive.


1. This is a short term self limiting disease, with no known cure.
2. Rest and consumption of clean food and water, helps contain the disease.
3. No role of sugarcane juice or yellow food etc.

Hepatitis A and C

Transmission can be Horizontal or Vertical.

Horizontal Transmission is by transmission from one person to another by :
-Blood and body fluids contamination.
-Contaminated blood transfusion.
-Use of infected syringes or needles.
-Use of contaminated razors, blades etc like during a hair cut etc.
-Sexual transmission, vaginal and semen secretions contaminated with Hepatitis B virus.

Vertical Transmission is from mother to the baby during child birth.

There is no vaccine against Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B can be prevented by giving three doses of the vaccine at zero, one month and six months.
Zero dose is/ can be given at birth. Second and third doses can be given at one month and six months. People not vaccinated in the first six months, can be given at any age at zero, one and six months interval. There is no need of booster dose.

Prevention of Hepatitis B and C

Lifestyle modifications

-All blood and blood products must be Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C free.
-Adequate sterilization of medical and surgical equipment including dental instruments/ equipment.
-Prevent needle stick injuries.
-Do not share equipment for injecting drugs.
-Do not share straws/ notes etc. for snorting drugs.
-Prevention/ protection during delivery of a Hepatitis B affected mother.
-Injection of immuno globulin and Hepatitis B Vaccine to the baby- immediately after birth.
-Tattooing and body piercing to be done with sterilized equipment.
-Do not have unprotected sex with an affected person.

Hepatitis C treatment:
There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C. The last few years have seen the use of new drugs for the treatment of Hepatitis C. RIBAVARIN and INTERFERON , some of which work by boosting the immune system and the other by attacking the virus itself.

Treatment of Hepatitis B
There is no known treatment for acute Hepatitis B. The condition generally clears up on its own- but a fair number of patients develop chronic Hepatitis and Cirrhosis of liver. Drugs like TENOFOVIR and ENTECAVIR can be used to treat chronic Hepatitis. Treatment in the acute stage is mainly supportive.

Clinical features/ symptoms include:

6.Yellow discoloration of eyes.
7.Dark, yellow colored urine.
8.Loss of appetite.
9.General symptoms like fever,weakness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting.
10.Enlargement of liver.

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