Hepatitis B & C
By Andre Sasalu

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Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is the inflammation of the liver. It is a blood-borne virus and can be fatal.
The disease
Hepatitis B is an infection. It inflames and swells the liver and if left untreated it can be fatal. When infected some people may experience no symptoms at all for up to 6 months. When symptoms do show they include;
Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver which can be caused by Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver which can be caused by Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
- Tiredness
- Lack of appetite
- Nausea
- Low fever
- Dark urine
- Yellow skin
- Liver pain
Some people who are infected will carry the infection for the duration of their lives. This is called chronic hepatitis and can be lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer which can be fatal. Children who develop Hepatitis B have a higher risk of developing chronic Hepatitis than adults who get the disease. In adults this only happens 5% of the time.
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Transmission
Hepatitis B can be transmitted many different ways,such as
- Intravenous drug use
- Sexual transmission
- Sharing hygiene products with an infected person
- Using unclean tools that pierce the skin such as tattoo needles and medical needles
- Unclean piercings
- During childbirth/pregnancy
Dominant modes of infection vary from country to country. In first world countries such as the U.S, Australia and Western Europe hepatitis B is generally transmitted through intravenous drug use and unprotected sex. In China and South-East Asia it's generally transmitted through childbirth.
In countries such as Eastern Europe (including Russia) and Japan its spread during childhood and 2-7% of the population are chronically infected. In Africa it's also mainly transmitted during childhood where approximately 8% of the population are chronically infected. Over the world approximately 600 million die of Hepatitis B every year.
What to do about it?
If someone believes they are infected the first thing they should do is see a doctor. There are blood tests that can determine if a person has Hepatitis B but these tests
may not pick up the disease up to 6 months after infection. If they don't the infection can get worse and without treatment it can be fatal.
Fortunately of the adults who get infected 95% of them get rid of the disease with their immune systems but this still doesn't meant that people shouldn't get checked if they believe they are infected
People with chronic Hepatitis B should;
- Be careful with spilled blood
- Have a doctor who will monitor the disease
external image 220px-Stethoscope-2.png- Practice safe sex
- Eat well
- Drink safely
- Make sure all that are close to them are vaccinated
Treatments and Vaccines
There is a vaccine for Hepatitis B and it is recommended for everyone. It is the most effective way of blocking the disease and works on adults 95% of the time. There are also treatments for people with chronic Hepatitis B. These reduce liver damage and the risk of the virus spreading.
Hepatitis B Bibliography
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. It is a blood-borne virus and can be fatal.
The disease
Hepatitis C is an infection. Shortly after infection a person may not feel
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sick at all but when symptoms do show they include;
- Tiredness
- Lack of appetite
- Nausea
- Low fever
- Dark urine
- Yellow skin
- Liver pain
If the infection stays for more than 6 months it is classified as chronic Hepatitis C and stays for the rest of the persons life. This happens to 70% of the people with Hepatitis C. In approximately 17% of the people with chronic Hepatitis C it will lead to cirrhosis which may take up to 20 years and in a smaller number liver cancer.

Transmission

 Hepatitis C can be transmitted
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many different ways,such as
- Intravenous drug use
- Sexual transmission
- Sharing hygiene products with an infected person
- Using unclean tools that pierce the skin such as tattoo needles and medical needles
- Unclean piercings
- During childbirth/pregnancy
The infection is most common in Africa and Asia. In Egypt 20% of the population are infected in some areas.

What to do about it?
If someone believes they have hepatitis C they should consult a doctor. Their doctor can arrange an antibody test. This test will only determine if you have had Hepatitis C as the antibodies will stay after the infection.
It is very important to get tested as only 20-30% of the people who get infected clear it on their own.
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If someone has chronic Hepatitis C they should;
- Be careful with spilled blood
- Have a doctor who will monitor the disease
- Practice safe sex
- Eat well
- Drink safely

Treatments and vaccines

There isn't currently a vaccine for Hepatitis C but there are treatments that reduce liver and damage and, in 50% of people, clear the virus.However these treatments may have side effects.


Hepatitis C Bibliography

Image Bibliography