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.”