Hepatitis Essay

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Hepatitis refers to as an inflammation of the liver, which may result from various causes (infectious and non-infectious). The inflammation happens when an immune system detects a foreign particle and sends out signal to surround the infected area with white blood cells. This ends up causing redness, swelling, and sometimes pain. The liver’s function is to detoxify the blood, storing vitamins, and producing hormones. All these functions can be disrupted by hepatitis, causing severe health problems. Specifically, viral hepatitis accounts for more than 50% of cases of acute cases in the United States. Viral hepatitis can be caused by 5 different viruses, out of which the most common are hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV). Each type of hepatitis has different characteristics and is transmitted in different ways but their symptoms tend to be similar. Hepatitis A can be caused by consuming hepatitis A virus infected food or water. This virus gets transmitted via ingestion of contaminated food and water, contact through contaminated human waste, and oral secretions. This is very common in parts of the world where poor sanitation is very common. The incubation period of this virus is 15 to 45 days. Moreover, hepatitis B is caused by HBV virus, and it can be transmitted via infected blood, blood transfusions, semen, and other body fluids. The incubation period for this virus is from 45 to 160 days. There is no cure available for Hepatitis A and B, though the incidence rate has decreased in countries where vaccines are available. Hepatitis C virus gets under the skin (percutaneous infection) and that’s how it causes infection. It is transmitted via injection-drug and needle-stick injuries, hemodia... ... middle of paper ... ... healthcare professionals who accidentally got stuck by a needle. Lastly, hepatitis A vaccine (Harvix, Vaqta) are available in the US, which contains inactive form of virus. Protective antibodies are developed after two doses within 4 weeks period and the immunity will last for many years. The recombinant hepatitis B vaccines (Energix-B and Recombivax-HB) containing only the part of the surface antigen is very effective in producing antibodies. This should be given in 3 doses, with the second dose taken after 1 to 2 months and the last one taken 4 to 6 months after the first dose. Infants are given HBIG and hepatitis B if the mother is tested positive for it. The reason for taking both is that vaccine provides long lasting protection and takes weeks or months to develop while HBIG protect the infant with active and short-lived immunity with passive antibodies.

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