Viral hepatitis - symptoms and treatment

Viral hepatitis is a group of common and dangerous for a person infectious diseases, which differ quite significantly among themselves, caused by different viruses, but still have a common feature - this is a disease that affects primarily the human liver and causes its inflammation.

Therefore, viral hepatitis of different types are often combined under the name "jaundice" - one of the most common symptoms of hepatitis.


For the duration of the process viral hepatitis are:

  • Acute - up to 3 months (hepatitis A);
  • Long - up to 6 months (hepatitis B, C);
  • Chronic - over 6 months (hepatitis B, C, D).

According to the severity of clinical manifestations emit:

  1. Asymptomatic forms (viral carriage is characteristic of hepatitis B, C, subclinical form can be with any hepatitis).
  2. Manifest forms (may be icteric and anicteric).

Cyclic and acyclic (with exacerbations) course is characteristic of viral hepatitis.

How viral hepatitis is transmitted

Infections are transmitted from a sick person to a healthy one. Transmission paths may be as follows:

  • Hepatitis A - feces, saliva;
  • Hepatitis B - blood, semen, saliva, perinatal (infection of the child from the mother);
  • Hepatitis C - blood;
  • Hepatitis E - feces, saliva;
  • Hepatitis D - blood, semen.

The incubation period varies considerably in duration.

  • Hepatitis A - from 2 to 6 weeks;
  • Hepatitis B - from 8 to 24 weeks;
  • Hepatitis C - from 6 to 12 weeks;
  • Hepatitis E - from 2 to 8 weeks;
  • Hepatitis D - not installed.

Hepatitis A, E, and F can be only once in a lifetime, and hepatitis caused by other types of viruses can recur in the same person. There is a possibility of developing the disease even after liver transplantation.

What happens after the hepatitis virus enters the body?

With the flow of blood, viruses enter the liver. On liver cells there is a receptor protein CD81, binding to which the virus penetrates into the cell. Next begins the harmful work characteristic of all viruses. The virus inserts its RNA into the genetic apparatus of the cell. And already here, as on a matrix, exact replicas of the virus begin to "print" one after another, overgrowing a new membrane inside the cell.

This continues until the cell itself dies due to incompatible with life violations caused by the virus, or it is not destroyed by the body’s own immune system. After cell death and destruction, the newborn viruses enter the extracellular space and infect other, not yet affected cells. The process is repeated again.

Symptoms of Viral Hepatitis

Regardless of the form of the disease, viral hepatitis has similar common symptoms:

  1. Diarrheal disorders (nausea, vomiting, belching, bitter taste in the mouth, loss of appetite);
  2. General malaise (sometimes the onset of viral hepatitis is like a flu - there is an increase in body temperature, headache, body aches);
  3. Pain in the right hypochondrium (long, paroxysmal, aching, dull, radiating to the right scapula or shoulder);
  4. Jaundice - yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes (but there are also anicteric forms of hepatitis);
  5. Darkening of urine, fecal discoloration;
  6. Pruritus

The most adverse outcome of acute hepatitis is chronic disease. Chronic viral hepatitis is dangerous because it gradually leads to the development of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Hepatitis A - Botkin's disease

The most common and least dangerous viral hepatitis. The incubation period for infection is from 7 days to 2 months. Infection occurs through the use of poor-quality food. In addition, acute hepatitis A is transmitted through direct contact with the sick person’s things and dirty hands.

In most cases, the infection ends in a spontaneous recovery, but sometimes patients are prescribed droppers, which reduce the intensity of toxic effects on the liver.

Hepatitis B

This is a more serious disease than hepatitis A, since hepatitis B can lead to serious liver damage. Hepatitis B virus can be infected through the blood, during sexual contact, and the virus can be transmitted from mother to fetus during childbirth.

Like Botkin’s disease, hepatitis B begins with a rise in temperature. Patients suffer from joint pain, weakness, nausea and vomiting. In hepatitis B, there may be an increase in the liver and spleen, as well as darkening of the urine and discoloration of feces. Jaundice with hepatitis B is rare. Liver damage can be very severe, up to the development of liver cirrhosis and cancer. Hepatitis B treatment is complex using hepatoprotectors, antibiotics, hormones and drugs for the immune system.

Hepatitis C

In turn, it has 11 subspecies that differ in the set of genes of the causative virus. In this regard, at the moment, an effective vaccine against the disease does not exist. Among all viral hepatitis, hepatitis C is the most severe form that predisposes to the chronic course of the disease.

The most common methods of infection are through the transfusion of infected blood, the use of surgical and dental instruments, and indiscriminate sexual intercourse. Hepatitis C treatment is the most expensive among other types of the disease.

Hepatitis D

The symptoms of hepatitis D are fully consistent with the symptoms of hepatitis B. Infection with hepatitis B and D viruses, as a rule, occurs simultaneously, since the hepatitis D virus cannot exist in the human body on its own. With the development of a mixed infection of hepatitis B and D often develop severe forms of the disease, leading to cirrhosis of the liver.

Hepatitis E

Viral hepatitis E is caused by an RNA virus similar to rotaviruses. Methods for its cloning were developed, a test system was created to confirm the diagnosis. The source of infection are patients with viral hepatitis E from the end of the incubation and during the acute period of the disease.

The main pathway is waterborne, epidemic outbreaks are described in countries with hot climates. The course resembles viral hepatitis A with a predominantly mild course and recovery. A distinctive feature of viral hepatitis E is its course in pregnant women: frequent spontaneous abortion and rapidly increasing signs of acute liver failure with mortality of up to 25% or more.


When prescribing therapy, it is taken into account which virus has specifically caused the development of the disease. In viral hepatitis, the basis of treatment, as a rule, consists of antiviral agents, interferons that help the body produce antibodies to fight viruses, hepatoprotectors, and antihistamines. In case of a severe form of the disease, Reamberin is shown to be administered intravenously, hormonal agents are prescribed, rarely antibiotics.

Treatment of viral hepatitis for a long time, is carried out in a hospital. During this time, the patient is forbidden to drink alcohol and fat, loading the body with work food. If complications of cirrhosis occur, liver transplantation may be required.

Prevention of viral hepatitis

To protect yourself from hepatitis infection, you must follow simple rules of prevention. Do not use boiled water, always wash fruits and vegetables, do not neglect the heat treatment of products. So you can prevent infection with hepatitis A.

In general, it is necessary to avoid contact with biological fluids of other people. For protection against hepatitis B and C, especially with blood. In microscopic quantities, blood can remain on razors, toothbrushes, nail scissors. Do not share these items with other people. Piercing and tattoos should not be done with non-sterile devices. It is necessary to take precautions during sexual intercourse.

Watch the video: What is Hepatitis C and Why Should You Care? (April 2020).


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