HomeHealth articlesviral infectionsHow Viral Hepatitis Is a Public Health Problems?

Viral Hepatitis and Public Health Problems

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Viral hepatitis, the inflammation of the liver, is an emerging public health concern that urgently needs attention. Read this article to know more.

Written by

Dr. Afsha Mirza

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha

Published At October 26, 2023
Reviewed AtOctober 26, 2023


Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver induced by different infectious viruses and non-infectious mechanisms directing to various health issues, some of which can be deadly. There are five prominent types of hepatitis virus, called types A, B, C, D, and E. While they all induce liver disorders, they vary in significant ways, including methods of transmission, the harshness of the disease, geographical allotment, and precluding strategies. In distinct, types B and C direct to chronic illness in millions. There are the most typical reasons for liver cirrhosis (chronic liver injury from various reasons leading to scarring and liver failure), liver cancer (cancer of liver cells), and viral hepatitis-related deaths. Approximately 354 million individuals worldwide live with hepatitis B or C; testing and therapy stay outside reach for most.

What Are the Common Forms of Hepatitis?

There are many reasons for hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is caused by a virus and can either be acute (staying less than six months) or chronic (staying more than six months). Viral hepatitis can be disseminated from individual to individual. Some types of viral hepatitis are spread via sexual contact. Five known hepatitis viruses are classified by the letters A through E. Numerous viruses are understood to cause hepatitis. Common forms of viral hepatitis are as follows:

  • Hepatitis A: This state of hepatitis does not lead to chronic infection and usually has no difficulties. The liver usually recovers from hepatitis A within several months. Nevertheless, infrequent deaths from hepatitis A have happened due to liver failure, and some individuals have needed a liver transplant for acute hepatitis A infection. Hepatitis A can be controlled by vaccination.

  • Hepatitis B: Approximately 95 percent of grown-ups heal from hepatitis B and do not evolve chronically infected. Nevertheless, rare cases cause a life-long, chronic illness. The earlier in life hepatitis B is acquired, the more likely it is to evolve chronically. Individuals can carry the virus without feeling ill but can still outspread the virus. Hepatitis B is controlled by obtaining a vaccine.

  • Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C is one of the most familiar causes of liver disorders and used to be the number one cause of liver transplants. Approximately 75 percent to 85 percent of patients with hepatitis C develop a chronic liver disorder. Around 2.4 million individuals are assessed to have chronic hepatitis C conditions. It usually does not display any manifestation. No vaccine is available to control hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis D: Hepatitis D only occurs in individuals infected by the hepatitis B virus. Therefore, if an individual is vaccinated against hepatitis B, they ultimately get protected against the hepatitis D virus.

  • Hepatitis E: This kind of hepatitis is spread by swallowing infected food or water. Hepatitis E is familiar throughout the globe. The vaccines are currently available for it.

Most individuals heal from hepatitis, and the disease is usually preventable. Nevertheless, it is still regarded as a severe health hazard because it can:

  • Damage to the liver tissue.

  • Spread efficiently from individual to individual.

  • Debilitate the body's immune system.

  • Causes liver cancer.

  • Causes death (in rare cases).

What Are the Symptoms of Viral Hepatitis?

Symptoms include the following:

  1. Dark color urine.

  2. Abdominal pain.

  3. Yellow skin or eye whites.

  4. Light or clay-colored stool.

  5. Fever.

  6. Loss of appetite.

  7. Exhaustion.

  8. Joint pain.

How Does Hepatitis Infection Spread?

  • Hepatitis A can be transmitted via food or drinking water, it can be transmitted from fecal-oral route. An individual can also acquire hepatitis A from sexual contact.

  • An individual can acquire hepatitis B in many forms by having sex with an infected individual, sharing contaminated needles, being in immediate contact with infected blood, obtaining needle stick wounds, being transmitted from a pregnant individual to a fetus, and being in touch with an infected individual's body fluids. An infected pregnant individual will likely pass hepatitis B to the baby during or after delivery. Therefore, all pregnant individuals should be tested for hepatitis B. Within 12 hours of delivery, newborns born to parents with hepatitis B must obtain therapy with hepatitis B antibodies and the hepatitis B vaccine.

What Is the Epidemiology of Viral Hepatitis Disease?

The disorder has a varied exhibition at the time of diagnosis. It can advance from an unexpected finding to life-threatening diseases like liver cirrhosis (scarring and liver failure). It belongs to the infrequent group of conditions that can induce chronic inflammation inside the body and have a deferred exhibition. It contributes substantially to the global load on healthcare. In terms of mortality, the load of viral hepatitis is comparable to that of human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis (a severe infectious bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs). It is among the significant global public health challenges along with different infectious diseases, such as malaria (a disorder caused by a plasmodium parasite, transferred by the bite of infected mosquitoes) and tuberculosis; the significant distinction is that there are extremely limited preventive measures for viral hepatitis, particularly in growing countries. With restricted diagnosis and treatment aids, various presentation levels, and a rapidly growing burden, it can evolve into the next silent pandemic.

How to Manage Viral Hepatitis Infection?

There are no medicines to heal hepatitis A aside from carefully observing liver function. A dose of the hepatitis A vaccine or hepatitis A immune globulin can assist in treating the infection. Hepatitis B, when chronic, can usually be treated successfully. The most commonly used medications to treat chronic hepatitis B and C are Entecavir, Telbivudine, Simeprevir, Daclatasvir, and many more. These latest medications are occasionally provided with older drugs like Ribavirin, Peginterferon Alfa-2a, and Peginterferon-2b. An individual might have to take these medications for up to six months. If an individual has chronic hepatitis D, the doctor may prescribe medications containing interferons. Hepatitis Etherapies include Peginterferon Alfa-2a and Ribavirin.


Cases of viral hepatitis are growing globally. Viral hepatitis is a serious and preventable public health threat, putting infected people at increased risk of liver disease, cancer, and death. Comprehensive public health prevention programs include prevention and detection of HBV and HCV infections, diagnosis and management of chronic liver disease associated with viral hepatitis, surveillance and monitoring of the effectiveness of preventive measures, and establishment of a research agenda. must be included.

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Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha
Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha

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