What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver according to the CDC. The duration of this disease can either be acute (lasting less than 6 months). Or chronic (lasting more than 6 months). Viral hepatitis may spread from person to person.  In some cases through sexual contact. Several different viruses cause viral hepatitis. They’re named hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses.

Hepatitis A (HAV)

Hepatitis A (HAV) is an acute illness that never becomes chronic. HAV spreads through the ingestion of food or water, kissing, or unsanitary practices.

Most HAV is contracted from contaminated fruits, vegetables, and shellfish. Traveling to countries where HAV is common can up your chance of contraction. As well as using illicit drugs, and having close personal contact with an infected person.

Hepatitis B (HBV)

Hepatitis B (HBV) may develop from an acute illness into a chronic HBV infection. The infection spreads in a multitude of ways. Like sharing needles, blood transfusions, giving birth, tattooing, body piercing, and sharing razors. Unprotected sexual contact can also transmit the virus. Patients with chronic HBV face serious health risks. Such as developing cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

HBV often causes damage to the liver before any signs or symptoms are experienced by a person. For this reason, screenings are of utmost importance for high risk individuals.

Hepatitis C (HCV)

Hepatitis C (HCV) is the most dangerous form of viral hepatitis. It can often go undetected for decades all while damaging your liver. It may also develop into a chronic HCV infection. Some symptoms may include fever, dark urine, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin.

Over many years the infection often progresses into liver disease and/or cirrhosis. This may develop into liver failure, liver cancer.  Or dilated blood vessels in the esophagus and stomach.

HCV spreads through blood-to-blood contact.  Associated with IV drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, and transfusions. HCV infects only humans and chimpanzees. Although there’s no vaccine against HCV, chronic infection may be cured. Antiviral medications such as sofosbuvir or simeprevir have a 95% success rate.

Hepatitis D (HDV)

Hepatitis D (HDV) is another virus that causes liver inflammation. It cannot survive on its own like the other forms of Hepatitis. Since it requires a protein that the HBV produces to enable it to infect liver cells. HDV only infects individuals that have already been infected with hepatitis B.

Patients with hepatitis B can see an increase in symptom severity with HDV. It can also elicit non-symptomatic people with HBV to have symptoms.

Hepatitis E (HEV)

Hepatitis E (HEV) is similar to HAV.  Outbreaks generally occur in Asia.  Where it transmits through the fecal oral route with contaminated water. HEV has 4 different genotypes labeled 1,2,3, & 4. The first two are prevalent in humans. The latter 2 in animals such as pigs and deer. Infections are usually acute, lasting several weeks at most.

Hepatitis G (HGV)

Hepatitis G (HGV) resembles HCV and the virus’s effects are under investigation.  A rare form of hepatic inflammation. Its role in causing disease in humans is uncertain. Most persons infected with HGB are asymptomatic.

Who is at risk?

  • Healthcare workers
  • Asians and Pacific Islanders
  • Sewage and water treatment workers
  • People with multiple sex partners
  • Intravenous drug users
  • HIV patients
  • People with hemophilia who receive blood clotting factors


Patients infected with HAV, HBV, and HCV may have little to no symptoms of illness. Most common symptoms are similar to the flu:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach aches

Yellowing of the eyes and skin, Jaundice can also occur in some individuals. Depending on their health and virus type infected.


Hepatitis A – two HAV vaccines are available in the US: Harvix and Vaqta. Both contain inactive HAV virus. These are the most common individuals who risk acquiring HAV:

  • Travelers to or from countries where HAV is common
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Illegal drug users
  • Researchers working with HAV or with primates that are susceptible to infection with HAV
  • Patients with clotting factor disorders who are receiving clotting factor concentrates that a transmit HAV

Hepatitis B – For active vaccination a harmless HBV antigen is given to stimulate the body’s immune system to produce protecting antibodies. HBV vaccines are 90% effective in healthy adults and 95% in infants, children, and adolescents. Patients with weakened immunity or older patients are more likely to fail to respond to the vaccines. HBV vaccines are ideal for:

  • Infants
  • Adolescents under 18 years of age
  • Residents and staff of institutions for the developmentally disabled
  • Patients receiving kidney hemodialysis
  • People who with hemophilia and other patients receiving clotting factor concentrates
  • Household contacts and sexual partners of patients infected with HBV chronically
  • Travelers who will spend more than 6 months in regions with high rates of HBV infection
  • Injection drug users and their sexual partners
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with multiple sex partners
  • Those recently infected with a STD
  • Inmates of long-term correctional facilities

Hepatitis C and D – there is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C or D because there are six different genotypes of hepatitis C. The HBV vaccine can help prevent an individual not infected with HBV from contracting hepatitis D because the virus requires live HBV to replicate in the body.

Hepatitis Treatment

Treating patients with acute viral hepatitis consists of relieving symptoms of nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Acetaminophen and alcohol should be avoided to prevent further damage to the liver. Also, intravenous fluids may be administered to combat dehydration caused by vomiting. Treating acute hepatitis varies from treating chronic hepatitis. Treatment of acute hepatitis may involve resting and sustaining hydration. While treatment of chronic hepatitis requires medication or combinations of medications to eradicate the virus. In some severe cases, a liver transplant may be required if liver failure is cause by this disease.

With many forms of Hepatitis, a skilled and experienced gastroenterologist is your best bet. Get your private consultation with Dr. Tabib.  He is a leading authority for Hepatitis treatments.

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Siamak Tabib, M.D., Inc.
8631 W 3rd St Suite 1015E,
Los Angeles, CA 90048

(310) 683-4911

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