Differences Between Hepatitis A, B, C and D
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 399,000 people had hepatitis A in 2016. Mortality was at 0.5%.
In 2016, there were 27 million people living with hepatitis B.
WHO also estimated in 2016, that approximately 399,000 people died with hepatitis C, typically the cause of death was cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
Hepatitis A is not as serious as hepatitis B and C. There is a vaccine for hepatitis A and B that will help prevent the disease. Each of the hepatitis diseases are viral in nature.
- Hepatitis A is typically transmitted via the fecal-oral route or through the consumption of contaminated water or food.
- Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood, semen, or other body fluids.
- Hepatitis C is transmitted through unprotected sex and sharing of needles with someone who has this illness. Choose a clean tattoo shop that uses sterile needles and be cautious with body piercing.
- Hepatitis D virus occurs among people who are already infected with hepatitis B
There are 7 distinctly different genotypes of hepatitis B and over 67 subtypes have been identified. In the U.S. the more common genotype type is 1.
Hepatitis A and B - Nucleus Health
Hepatitis A Facts
The signs and symptoms of hepatitis A do not appear until a few weeks after you get exposed to the virus, and some people do not become ill. Hepatitis A does not result in a chronic disease as it is self-limiting.
The symptoms include a poor appetite, fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice. This illness has symptoms in a two month timeframe. Children under the age of six do not have symptoms. The body produces antibodies in response to hepatitis A, so you are then protected for life. There is no treatment necessary unless you need to treat the specific symptoms. The most important way to prevent this disease is to get the preventative vaccine.
Hepatitis B Facts
Hepatitis B ranges from a mild case to a severe one. The symptoms typically appear from one to four months after you have become infected, although it is possible to have symptoms as early as two weeks. Young children may not have any symptoms.
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Jaundice - skin and whites of the eyes become yellow
- Clay-colored stools
- Pain in the joints, muscles
- Right upper quadrant pain
Hepatitis B may be acute or chronic if it lasts over six months and the incubation period is 30-180 days. Acute hepatitis B is a short-term disease. Once the symptoms begin the liver becomes inflamed and the liver enzymes will increase. There is no specific treatment, but the disease usually resolves within 6 months. This illness can cause liver failure or cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.
Chronic hepatitis B is a long-term disease that lasts over six months, and most people do not have symptoms. This is serious, however, as cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer or even death may occur. A chronically infected person who does not look ill may still spread the illness to others.
The hepatitis B vaccine is four injections given over one to six months. It is recommended for newborns, children or adolescents who have not been vaccinated, healthcare and emergency workers and those with multiple sex partners. Others who need the vaccine include those with chronic liver or kidney disease and if you are traveling to an area of the world with a high hepatitis B infection rate.
The treatment for this illness includes antiviral medications, which includes:
- Entecavir (Baraclude)
- Tenofovir (Viread)
- Lamivudine (Epivir(
- Adefovir (Hepsera)
- Telbivudine (Tyzeka)
Additionally, there are immune modulator drugs that boost the immune system to fight the virus
Liver Disease Stages
Hepatitis C Facts
About fifty percent of the people infected with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected. However, this viral infection that is spread through contaminated blood causes liver inflammation. It is curable with oral medications that are taken daily for two to six months. There is no vaccine for this illness.
The largest at risk group for this disease are those born between 1945 and 1965, therefore, a blood screening is recommended as this group is 5 times more likely to become infected with hepatitis C. Unfortunately, this illness can be a “silent” infection for many years until the liver has enough damage to make the symptoms appear.
The symptoms are only slightly different from hepatitis B, and they include:
- Bleeding easily
- Bruising easily
- Jaundice - skin and whites of the eyes become yellow
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin)
- Leg swelling
- Weight loss
- Confusion, slurred speech and drowsiness (hepatic encephalopathy)
- Spider-like blood vessels on the skin (spider angiomas)
The risk factors to be aware of include:
A health care worker who is exposed to infected blood
- If you have HIV
- Injecting or inhaling illicit drugs
- Receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
- Receiving a tattoo or piercing in an unclean establishment
- Hemodialysis treatment over a long period of time
- Were ever in prison
- Were born to a woman with hepatitis C
Hepatitis C that continues over numerous years will cause liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver cancer and liver failure.
Hepatitis C is Curable - John Hopkins
Hepatitis D Particulars
Hepatitis (delta hepatitis, HDV) was first discovered in 1977, and is unrelated to the hepatitis A, B and C virus. The clinical features of this virus range from acute (self-limiting) to full liver failure. This hepatitis only occurs in those who already have hepatitis B. Intravenous drug abusers and those who have received multiple blood transfusions are at the highest risk. Few treatments are available for hepatitis D.
The hepatitis viruses causes serious illnesses that will take a great deal of time for recovery. Some liver damage is often the result. It is wise to get the vaccines that are available, particularly if you are at risk with your job or lifestyle.
Did you learn some new things about the hepatitis virus?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby