Causes of Hepatitis D
Some people may wonder, "What are the causes of hepatitis D?" There is actually only one cause of hepatitis D -- an infection with the hepatitis D virus. In addition to becoming infected with the hepatitis D virus, a person must also have a hepatitis B infection in order to develop hepatitis D. Causes of hepatitis D transmission can include exposure to blood or blood products through working in a laboratory or a dialysis unit, through infected needles used for tattoos or body piercing, or through sharing drug needles.
What Causes Hepatitis D?
What are the causes of hepatitis D? There is only one cause of hepatitis D -- an infection with the hepatitis D virus (also known as HDV or the delta hepatitis agent). The hepatitis D virus is a small RNA virus that belongs to the genus Deltavirus. However, there is one important difference between hepatitis D and other types of viral hepatitis. A person who is infected with the hepatitis D virus must also have a hepatitis B infection in order for the hepatitis D virus to multiply. This is not the case with other types of viral hepatitis.
When a person is infected with the hepatitis D virus (and either has active hepatitis B or is co-infected with hepatitis B at the same time), the virus is able to enter liver cells from the blood and then use those cells to make more copies of the hepatitis D virus. As more and more of the hepatitis D virus is made in the liver cells, they can become damaged and may even die.
A person infected with the hepatitis D virus may develop a sudden onset of fever, extreme tiredness, nausea, a lack of appetite, abdominal pain (or stomach pain), and yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (known as jaundice). Yet, not everyone infected with the hepatitis D virus will develop symptoms. With hepatitis D, a person can also develop a long-term liver infection (known as chronic hepatitis D).