Types of Viral Hepatitis
Types of Viral Hepatitis: Hepatitis CIt is estimated that over 300 million people worldwide have hepatitis C. Similar to hepatitis B, people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus can develop a lifelong condition called chronic hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is spread most frequently when a person comes in contact with infected blood. This can happen when working in a dialysis unit or when sharing needles for tattoos, body piercings, or drugs. While hepatitis C can be spread through sexual intercourse, this is rare (see Hepatitis C Transmission).
Many people don't have symptoms of hepatitis C and don't know they have it (see Hepatitis C Symptoms).
In some cases, hepatitis C gets better on its own. If a person develops chronic hepatitis C, the current treatment of choice is combination therapy using pegylated alpha interferon (Pegasys®, Peg-Intron®) and ribavirin (Copegus®, Rebetron®)
(Click Hepatitis C Treatment for more information.)
Types of Viral Hepatitis: Hepatitis DHepatitis D is caused by the hepatitis D virus (or delta virus.) This virus is unique, because in order to multiply, the hepatitis B virus must also be present. Hepatitis D can also cause a chronic infection.
Similar to hepatitis B, hepatitis D is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids (see Hepatitis D Transmission). The symptoms are also similar to those seen with hepatitis B.
There are no approved drugs to treat a chronic hepatitis D infection. There is some indication that certain medicines used to treat hepatitis B may be effective against hepatitis D. These include alpha interferon and pegylated alpha interferon.
For people with severe liver disease caused by hepatitis D, liver transplant has been shown to be effective.
(Click Hepatitis D Treatment for more information, including ways to prevent transmission.)