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World Hepatitis Day is July 28 and aims to raise awareness of the different types of hepatitis and what a diagnosis may mean for patients.

Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper answered questions about hepatitis and what is available currently to treat it.

Q: What are the differences in the types of hepatitis?

A: “The different types of hepatitis can cause similar symptoms: fatigue, nausea, vomiting and yellowing of the skin. Hepatitis A is often contracted from infected food or water. People get Hepatitis B and C from intercourse, infected needles for drugs or tattooing. Mothers can pass Hepatitis B onto their newborns. Patients who received blood transfusions before 1990 (when blood banks began screening) are also at risk of Hepatitis C.”

Q: How prevalent are each of the types?

A: “Hepatitis A incidence has significantly decreased since immunization began in 1996. In 2014, there were 2,500 cases of Hepatitis A in the United States. The prevalence of Hepatitis B is estimated to be less than 2 percent. Hepatitis C incidence has increased due to the increase in class IV drug abuse (heroin). In 2015, an estimated 33,900 new cases were documented.”

Q: What are the health problems that hepatitis can pose?

A: “Hepatitis can be contagious and also can progress to cause liver failure, the need for a transplant and even death.”

Q: What kind of treatments exist for hepatitis?

A: “Antiviral medications are the staple of treatment for Hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis A is treated with supportive care such as increased hydration and rest.”

Dr. Chad Jumper is a family practice physician at Boiling Springs Family Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. Check Boiling Springs Family Medicine on Twitter @DrChadJumper and on Facebook. This information is intended for educational purposes. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your individual health.

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