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Common Liver Diseases : Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis | Alcoholic liver disease | Liver cancer | Biliary disease | Other/metabolic diseases | Acute liver failure

Viral Hepatitis

What is viral hepatitis?

Viral Hepatitis is an inflammation of the iver caused by a virus infection. This results in liver cell damage and destruction.

Five main types of viruses causing Hepatitis have been identified:

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E - These types of hepatitis are usually spread by fecal-oral contact which implies that contaminated drinking water is the main source of these infections.
The various modes of spread can be:
  • Touching an infected person's stool
  • Consuming food made by someone who touched infected stool
  • Drinking water made dirty by infected stool
  • Having anal sexual intercourse with an infected person
Hepatitis B and C

Hepatitis B
  • There are 400 million carriers of Hepatitis B in the world
  • 45 million of these are present in India. In other words, 1 in every 20 Indians is a Hepatitis B carrier
  • Of these, 4 million persons carry highly infectious virus in their blood
Hepatitis B virus infection is totally preventable as a safe and highly effective vaccine is easily available

Hepatitis C
  • 1-2 % of Indian population suffers from Hepatitis C - About 20 million infected
  • Once acquired, there is 80% chance of developing chronic disease
  • Unlike Hepatitis B, no effective vaccine is available for its prevention.
Both Hepatitis B and C spread mainly through:
  • Contaminated blood and blood products
  • Sexual contact: especially with multiple partners. Although Hepatitis B can be transmitted between husband and wife, risk of transmission of Hepatitis C is very low in monogamous relationships.
  • In addition, people with alcoholic liver disease may also contract Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis D - This form occurs together with Hepatitis B, making the Hepatitis B infection worse.

Hepatitis viruses A and E cause only Acute Hepatitis.

On the other hand, Hepatitis viruses B (with or without D) and C in addition to acute hepatitis, can result in chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.
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Dr. A. S. Soin, Chairman
Medanta Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Medanta
The Medicity, Sector 38, Gurgaon,
Haryana 122001, India.
Office Tel : +91- 124-4855-222, +0124-4855-444
Fax :
+91- 124 4834111
Cell Phone : +91-88002 76222, 99992 82222, 88002 67222