Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is usually caused by a virus, although in some cases it can also be due to other causes. There are different types of hepatitis, which differ in the mode of transmission and its consequences. In general terms, we could say that hepatitis A and E are caused by ingestion of contaminated water or food, while hepatitis B, C and D are due to contact with infected body fluids. Let's take a closer look at each of these types of hepatitis.
The hepatitis A virus is generally transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water, although in some cases the contagion occurs through certain sexual practices. Despite the fact that most of the time the infection is mild and those affected fully recover from the disease, in some cases it can be severe and even lead to death. It is a very common type of hepatitis in developing countries, although a strong outbreak has recently been detected in Europe among gay men.
Hepatitis B is spread through contact with the blood and other body fluids of an infected person, such as saliva, semen, or vaginal fluids. In the event that the mother is infected, it can also be transmitted to the baby at the time of delivery. The best way to avoid the spread of this disease is, therefore, to avoid sharing syringes, toothbrushes or blades with infected people, in addition to always using a condom when having sex.
In this case, the transmission of the virus occurs mainly through the blood and is less frequent during sexual intercourse or during childbirth. In addition to avoiding sharing certain objects, such as those mentioned above, special
attention must be paid to blood transfusions and the use of certain instruments during medical interventions.
Infection with this virus is very rare, since only people who already have hepatitis B can be infected. The problem is that the simultaneous infection by both viruses can aggravate the situation of the affected person and increase the risk of mortality.
The hepatitis E virus, like hepatitis A, is transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water. Outbreaks of this disease are very common in underdeveloped countries, although the developed world is not free from contagion.
According to the WHO, in 2015 there were approximately 325 million people with chronic hepatitis, of which the majority live in developing countries and do not have access to the tests and treatments necessary to combat the disease. A deficiency that caused 1.34 million deaths from this disease during that year and that motivates the organization to meet its goal of eradicating hepatitis by 2030.
Fortunately, in our country access to treatment is much easier. It is very important to go to the specialist soon in the case of suffering any of the symptoms of the disease in order to start treatment and prevent it from getting worse and becoming chronic.
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