More than one million people around the world die from hepatitis each year. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is usually caused by a viral infection. While hepatitis is most commonly caused by infection(s), it can also be caused by heavy drug and alcohol use, medications, medical conditions, genetic disorders, or toxins. There are five strains of hepatitis that are known as types A, B, C, D, and E.
This virus is spread through food or water contaminated by an infected person’s fecal matter. Hepatitis A can also be spread through person-to-person transmissions. Unlike other forms of hepatitis, A does not become chronic, and most people fully recover in 6 months or less.
This type of hepatitis is spread through bodily fluids. People are infected with this virus through childbirth, sex, sharing needles or syringes, or sharing items like toothbrushes or razors. Most people with hepatitis B are unaware that they are infected. Hepatitis B can become chronic if not treated as soon as possible. If the virus becomes chronic, it can be cured with the proper treatment.
This type of hepatitis is spread through blood. Some examples include sharing needles or syringes, getting tattoos or piercings with contaminated instruments, or having a blood transfusion before 1992. Like hepatitis B, many people with hepatitis C are unaware they are infected. Hepatitis C often becomes chronic, but it is highly curable with the proper medication.
Hepatitis D is a rare form of hepatitis that can only occur in someone infected with hepatitis B. People with hepatitis D can be infected with hepatitis B simultaneously or get infected with D after overcoming an infection from B.
According to the CDC, hepatitis E is uncommon in the United States and usually occurs in areas with poor sanitation. This virus is spread the same way as hepatitis A. This virus can also be caused by eating undercooked pork, deer, or shellfish.
In honor of World Hepatitis Day, many organizations, such as the World Hepatitis Alliance, the World Health Organization, and the CDC, are raising awareness for these viruses. These organizations want everyone to know that these potentially deadly viruses are preventable with vaccines (types A and B) or curable in many cases.
At Rutherford’s Best Doctors, we can help connect you to the right medical professional in Rutherford County. Give us a call at (615) 869-0030 for more information.