1. Hepatitis is not only a virus
The word hepatitis is a medical ailment used to describe the inflammation of the liver. This ailment has many causes and levels of severity, of which the main symptoms include fatigue, jaundice and abdominal pain.
2. Out of the three main types of the hepatitis virus, there is a vaccine for HAV and HBV, but unfortunately none for HCV.
The three main classifications of the virus are Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV). Although there are vaccines available for deterring some strains of the hepatitis virus, these vaccines require repeated dosages for several years to maintain its effectiveness. However, out of the three main types of the hepatitis virus, there is a vaccine for HAV and HBV, but unfortunately none for HCV.
3. Viral hepatitis is silent
Viral hepatitis can sometimes leave little or no symptoms, and only signs of hepatitis may lead us to test for the presence of the virus in our system.
4. Hepatitis viruses can be detected in the blood and body fluids in infected persons.
When infected, the virus is found in the person’s blood, body fluids (eg. semen, vaginal fluids etc.) as well as in the stool. Since it may be found in stool, the virus can also be passed down through unsanitary preparation of food (fecal-oral route). As some shellfish may contain HAV, consumption of infected raw shellfish may expose us to the virus too.
5. Hepatitis can be passed on to another person
Exposure to an infected person’s blood, body fluids or stool would therefore be exposing oneself to the virus. Sexual intercourse, sharing of infected needles or razors, tattooing and body piercing are examples of how the virus may transmit from one person to another. A mother can also pass on the virus to her unborn baby. If one contracts the virus, seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent the onset of hepatitis.
For HBV, most people eventually develop anti-bodies to fend off the virus and will not pass the virus on to another person. If the virus persists and remains within our system, it may stay with us for the rest of our lives.
6. Hepatitis B and C can cause cancer
If left untreated, hepatitis may lead to liver failure or cancer. With proper awareness, treatment and care, we can learn to cope and live with hepatitis to lead a normal life.