Hepatitis is defined as inflammation of the liver and when the etiology is due to viral infection it’s known as viral hepatitis.
There are the following types of hepatitis:
World statistics of Hepatitis B and C infections
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection of the liver usually causes chronic viral hepatitis.
- The documented mortality because of HBV disease is 1 million annually.
- The global occurrence of chronic liver disease due to HBV and HCV is ~2.7%.
- An estimated 57% of liver cirrhosis and >70% of liver cancer cases are secondary to HBV and HCV infections.
- Data of world statistics show that about 150 million people are having chronic viral hepatitis (either due to HBV or HCV)
How HBV & HCV get transmitted
Hepatitis B virus-
- Sexual transmission
- Parenteral and per mucosal exposure to blood products, perinatal transmission.
- Sources of infection can be contaminated needles, blood products.
- Tattoo and body piercing with contaminated needles.
Hepatitis C virus-
- Same as above. But, sexual transmission is less common as compared to HBV.
- HBV & HCV are more infective than HIV infection.
Preventive measures for HBV &HCV infection
- Vaccination drive against HBV infection.
- To avoid sharing injecting equipment.
- Medical equipment should be properly sterilized prior to use.
- HBV &HCV testing and counselling centres.
- Indulge in safe sex practices.
- Awareness programs among the general population about the disease and its implications on health.
- Acute infection with HBV and HCV doesn’t require treatment, only supportive medical management.
- However, chronic forms of infection require treatment to reduce the viral load. Combined antiviral therapy remains the mainstay of the treatment.
- In the last decade, the treatment usually involved interferon injections and that required admission to the hospital which is usually accompanied by drug-related side effects.
- However, in the recent Era effective oral antiviral treatment is available for HBV and HCV infections which not only has good antiviral effects but also have good patient compliance with minimal side effects.
Role of Liver Transplantation
- Patients with End-Stage liver disease and acute liver failure not responding to medical management should undergo liver transplantation as this is only one curative treatment option.
- Liver transplantation is a proven successful modality of treatment with a 5-year survival >75%.
Dr. Sanjay Goja | Program Director and Clinical Lead – Liver Transplant & HPB Surgery and Robotic Liver Surgery | Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram