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Hepatitis is a disease of the liver. In hepatitis, the liver is inflamed. There can be several reasons why the liver is inflamed. For this reason there are several kinds of hepatitis. The most common forms are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Most cases of Hepatitis are caused by viruses. Some forms are caused by bacteria, fungi or parasites. The bacteria that cause Tuberculosis or Syphilis can also cause hepatitis, as can the parasite responsible for Malaria.
Hepatitis can also be caused by alcohol. About one in four people who drink more than three alcoholic drinks a day, (over a period of 10–15 days) will have some form of hepatitis caused by alcohol.
Hepatitis A can be transmitted through infected food. The patient's immune system makes antibodies against hepatitis A. This will make the patient immune against future infection. People with hepatitis A should rest, drink a lot of water and avoid alcohol. A vaccine is available. It will protect against infection from hepatitis A for life. Hepatitis A can be spread through personal contact, consumption of raw sea food or by drinking contaminated water. This occurs primarily in third world countries. Strict personal hygiene and avoiding raw and unpeeled foods can help prevent an infection. Infected people excrete the hepatitis A virus with their stool two weeks before and one week after the appearance of jaundice. The time between the infection and the start of the illness can run from 15 to 45 days, and approximately 15% of sufferers may experience relapsing symptoms from six months to a year after the first diagnosis.
Hepatitis B is not spread by food or casual contact. Instead, hepatitis B is spread by blood or body fluids from an infected person. A baby can get it from its mother during childbirth, and it can also be spread by sexual contact, use of street drugs, and unsafe medical care. Some people just have hepatitis B for a little while and then suppress the infection, but others can be infected for life usually with few or no symptoms for many years. Hepatitis B sometimes damages the liver severely, and can cause cancer. There is a vaccine that works very well to prevent hepatitis B, and there is treatment for people with serious disease cause by hepatitis B.The vaccine can be found in the clinics near you. Hepatitis B is an uncurable STI that once contracted might display flu like symptoms or in some cases display no symptoms at all.
Hepatitis C is not spread by food or casual contact. It is spread in ways that are similar to hepatitis B. There is no vaccine, and the treatment is somewhat unpleasant. People with hepatitis C who drink alcohol greatly increase their risk for liver damage.
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