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By November 23, 2008 - 5:17pm
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Can someone please explain to me the differences between Hepatitis A, B, C, etc. Is it the same virus just different strands? Thanks.

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The name hepatitis literally means "liver inflammation", so all three of these diseases cause an infection (acute or chronic) in the liver, but are caused by DIFFERENT viruses (some are caused by other substances).

- is acute
- most common
- goes away on its own in most cases
- caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV)
- spread via contact with infected fecal matter
(contaminated water or food, uncooked food, employee not washing hands and handling food, daycare providers not washing hands after changing diaper)
- vaccine for Hep A
- symptoms are similar to flu, many people may not know they have the virus

- can be acute and chronic
- caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- acute= most cases also go away on their own
- chronic= can cause liver damage or lead to liver cancer
- spread through sexual contact (not skin-to-skin, only through bodily fluids)
- spread through infected blood (sharing needles, razors or toothbrushes in same household
- it is not a respiratory disease, so you can NOT get this from hugging, kissing or even sneezing on someone!
- there is a vaccine for Hep B.
- symptoms are similar to flu, many people may not know they have the virus

- can be acute or chronic
- caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV)
- most cases do NOT go away on their own, and cause permanent liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure
- spread through contact with infected blood
- most people do not have symptoms of this disease until they have some liver damage
- there is NOT a vaccine for Hep C

Did you know there is also a Hepatitis D and a Hepatitis E?
According to the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm)
- serious liver disease
- caused by hepatitis D virus (HDV)
- relies on HBV to replicate (perhaps why we don't hear about this, since it depends on having Hepatitis B)
- spread similar to Hepatitis B, by coming into contact with infectious blood
- no vaccine for Hep D

- serious liver disease results in acute infection
- caused by hepatitis E virus (HEV)
- spread by coming into contact with fecal matter from contaminated water

November 23, 2008 - 9:05pm
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