December 7, 2022

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

What you need to know about viral hepatitis A, B and C

3 min read

Hepatitis is inflammation (swelling) of the liver, which performs important jobs like filtering your blood and fighting infection. Hepatitis can be caused by viruses, as well as heavy alcohol consumption, certain toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions.

The three most common types of hepatitis in the United States are A, B, and C. All 3 are caused by a virus.

The symptoms of hepatitis A, B and C are similar. They include:

Fatigue Fever Loss of appetite Stomach upset/vomiting Dark urine Pale stools Abdominal pain Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Many people with viral hepatitis never have symptoms.

Hepatitis A:

is highly contagious spreads when a person eats or drinks contaminated food or has close contact with an infected person does not usually cause long-term liver problems usually goes away after a few weeks can in rare cases cause liver failure or death is preventable with a vaccine

Who should be vaccinated against hepatitis A?

Children aged 12-23 months (or up to age 18 if not previously vaccinated) People at higher risk, including: People with liver problems or HIV International travelers IV drug users Sex partners of people with hepatitis A Men who have sex with men

Hepatitis B:

Spread through sexual contact, direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person, sharing needles, or from mother to child at birth Can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) infection, mostly depending on age — Babies are much more likely to become chronic than adults. Can lead to liver disease, liver failure and death if chronic. Cannot be cured but can be treated with medication. Is preventable with a vaccine

Who should be vaccinated against hepatitis B?

All infants Unvaccinated children under age 19 Adults ages 19 to 59 Adults over 60 at higher risk, including: IV drug users Health care workers People living with someone who has hepatitis B People on dialysis Sex partners of people with Hepatitis B men who have sex with men

⚠️ An estimated 68% of people with chronic hepatitis B are unaware they are infected.

Hepatitis C

Spread through IV drug use and from mother to child at birth Common in people with HIV who also inject drugs Often has no symptoms Causes chronic infection that can cause serious health problems and even death Curable with drugs , called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) detectable with a simple blood test is not preventable (there is no vaccine)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hepatitis C screening for all adults and pregnant women during any pregnancy.

Who should get tested for hepatitis C?

Universal screening is recommended for all adults ages 18 to 79 and pregnant women during any pregnancy. A one-time test is recommended for the following groups: People living with HIV People with certain medical conditions, including those on IV hemodialysis Drug users (past or current) People with liver problems Health care workers who may have been exposed People receiving transfusions or organ transplants have children of mothers with hepatitis C routine testing is recommended for people with persistent risk factors

Questions about viral hepatitis? Contact your doctor or your local public health clinic.

This resource was created with the support of Merck.

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