Hepatitis is Vaccine-Preventable

Hepatitis is Vaccine-Preventable
June 24 10:27 2021 by admin Print This Article

The liver is a vital organ with over 500 known functions. Most importantly, it filters toxins from our blood, fights infection, and processes various nutrients required by the body. Hepatitis is a deadly condition that causes inflammation in the liver and affects liver function. There are two primary types of Hepatitis: Infectious – which are caused by a virus, and Non-infectious. Certain diseases, auto-immune disorders, drugs, and toxins increase the risk for the non-infectious type.

The condition may be ‘acute’, which shows severe symptoms and lasts for a short-term like 6 months, or ‘chronic’ which shows moderate symptoms but can last for several years. Chronic hepatitis does not show any prominent symptoms, which is why a comprehensive annual health checkup is a must for people of any age group. Acute Hepatitis can turn fulminant, leading to a catastrophic failure of the liver, whereas Chronic Hepatitis can eventually lead to liver failure; both can be fatal if left untreated.

Types of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is of 6 types – Hep A, B, C, D, E, and G, each with their own epidemiology.

Hepatitis A or HAV: This is caused by consuming food or beverage contaminated by the saliva, sputum, mucous, or feces of a person infected with this virus. Typical symptoms include jaundice, dark urine, vomiting, nausea, fever, and anorexia.

Hepatitis B or HBV: This comes from having contact with body fluids of a contaminated person, having unprotected sex with an infected person, and using contaminated needles for drug use or tattooing. A pregnant mother who is infected can also pass on the condition to her unborn child. Symptoms include fatigue, mild fever, discomfort, and anorexia.

Hepatitis C or HCV: This comes from coming in contact with the blood of an infected person, as in the case of contaminated needles or other equipment used to prepare drugs. Most people have no symptoms while few show anorexia, fatigue, and discomfort.

Hepatitis D or HDV: This is considered a co-infection of Hep B. So the causes and symptoms are very similar to that of Hep B.

Hepatitis E or HEV: This is caused by consuming uncooked meat, food, or water that is contaminated by the feces of an infected person. In rare cases, a pregnant woman who is infected can pass on the condition to her unborn child. Symptoms include mild fever.

Hepatitis G or HGV: A relatively newer type of Hepatitis, Hep G is caused by direct contact with contaminated blood. Most people show mild to no symptoms at all.

Prevention and Vaccination

Hepatitis can be prevented by exercising caution when it comes to food, water, physical contact with people, sharing clothes with others, and avoiding the use of needles for drugs or tattooing. Health workers and people who come in contact with the blood, saliva, stools, and body fluids of infected people are vulnerable and must take extra care. Since the condition is widespread around the world, people traveling abroad should be extra careful.

Since the 1990s, there has been a concerted effort to develop vaccines for this disease. These are very effective in preventing or overcoming the condition to a large extent. That is why, hepatitis vaccines are a part of the immunization schedules for children, and are highly recommended for adults who are traveling abroad. However, there are only vaccines for types A, B, and D, and there is no approved vaccine for types C, E, and G.

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is mandatory for infants and is given between 12 to 23 months. If the child has not been vaccinated in this period, he/she can still receive a shot at any age. So also adolescents and adults can also take the vaccine at any age and is highly recommended if he/she is traveling abroad. The vaccine is given in 2 shots 6 months apart.

Hepatitis B: The HBV vaccine is given to infants at birth and over a couple of doses till 6 months of age. Children and adolescents who have not been vaccinated should take the vaccine at the earliest. Adults traveling abroad are recommended to take this vaccine. The vaccine is given in 2, 3, or 4 doses. This vaccine is very effective in preventing or overcoming the infection.

Hepatitis C: Till date, there is no approved or effective vaccine against Hep C.

Hepatitis D: Since this is a co-infection of Hep B, the vaccine is given for Hep B also can prevent or overcome infection from Hep D. However, if one is already suffering from chronic Hep B, the vaccine cannot prevent or overcome Hep D.

Hepatitis E: Till date, there is no approved or effective vaccine against Hep E although China is said to be working on one.

Hepatitis G: Again, no approved or effective vaccine against Hep G.

Outlook

Hepatitis is a deadly condition with serious consequences. Vaccines, excellent personal hygiene, and caution while consuming food or water are all effective in preventing Hepatitis infections. If you would like to know more about the disease or how to protect yourself and your family from getting infected, consult a reputed hospital. Such hospitals have an exclusive liver department staffed by experienced doctors. These specialists will provide the dos and don’ts required to prevent each of the types of hepatitis. This combined with the vaccination will keep you safe, from one of the deadliest diseases of our times.

 

Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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