Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disorder involving inflammation of the liver. Symptom include loss of appetite, dark urine, fatigue, and sometimes fever. The liver may become enlarged, and Jaundice may occur, giving the skin a yellow tinge. Hepatitis may be acute or chronic. The acute form can subside after about two months or, rarely can result in live failure. Chronic carriers are at risk of lasting liver disease.

Hepatitis A formerly infectious hepatitis, is the most common cause of acute hepatitis. Usually transmitted by food and water contaminated by human waste, epidemics can develop in regions with poor sanitary systems. Hepatitis B spreads mainly by blood or blood products but can be transmitted from mother to fetus or by sexual intercourse. It is resistant to hospital sterilization. It may cause an initial episode of liver disease and occasionally leads to chronic hepatitis. Both A and B are spreading among drug users.

Doctors often encountered hepatitis caused by an unknown virus, labeled non-A, non-B. Now called hepatitis C, the most common form of viral hepatitis, it is transmitted in blood and blood products, which we bow screen for the virus, and may be present for many years before causing liver damage. Hepatitis C are serious public-health threat, is a leading cause of chronic hepatitis. Delta hepatitis is caused by a very small Retrovirus that requires the presence of the hepatitis B virus in order to replicate.

Acute hepatitis may arise secondary to various infections that involve the liver. It can also occur through ingestion of carbon tetrachloride, the poisonous mushroom Amanita phalloides, arsenic, and certain drugs, including sulfonamides. Mild hepatitis can be caused by two forms of Herpes virus, cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus.

Mild causes of acute hepatitis are treated with bed rest. In forms involving extensive liver damage, blood-exchange transfusions may be necessary. Chronic hepatitis leads to Cirrhosis and liver damage. Type B virus and certain drugs cause a small percentage of cases, but the cause of most occurrences is unknown, delta virus maybe responsible for some of the relapses observed in patients with chronic hepatitis of nonviral origin, but their prolonged use in treating hepatitis B is not effective and may even hasten liver damage. In 1990 Alpha interferon was found effective in curing patients with hepatitis B. This drug is used to treat hepatitis C, although there is still no cure for this type of infection. Vaccines for type B virus are available, but they are costly.

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