What is Hepatitis?

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According to the Global Hepatitis Report 2024 released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is one of the countries with the highest burden of viral hepatitis.

About Hepatitis

  • Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver.
  • It can be an acute (short-term) infection or a chronic (long-term) infection.
  • There are different types of hepatitis, with different causes:
    • Viral hepatitis: It is the most common type and caused by one of several hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E.
    • Alcoholic hepatitis which is caused by heavy alcohol use.
    • Toxic hepatitis can be caused by certain poisons, chemicals, medicines, or supplements.
    • Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic type in which your body's immune system attacks your liver. The cause is not known, but genetics and your environment may play a role.

How is Viral Hepatitis Spread?

  • Hepatitis A and E usually spread through contact with food or water that is contaminated with an infected person. You can also get hepatitis E by eating undercooked food.
  • Hepatitis B, C, and D spread through contact with the blood of someone who has the disease.
  • Hepatitis B and D may also spread through contact with other body fluids. This can happen in many ways, such as sharing drug needles or having unprotected sex.

Symptoms: Some people with hepatitis do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. Common symptoms include: Fever, Fatigue, Loss of appetite, Nausea and/or vomiting etc.

Treatment: Treatment for hepatitis depends on which type you have and whether it is acute or chronic. Acute viral hepatitis often goes away on its own. There are different medicines to treat the different chronic types of hepatitis.

Q: What Is the Immune System?

The immune system is the body's defense against infections. The immune (ih-MYOON) system attacks germs and helps keep us healthy.

Source: India among nations with highest burden of viral hepatitis, says WHO: How to prevent it?