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Home > Health Hub > Article > When do you need to suspect a case of Viral Hepatitis?

When do you need to suspect a case of Viral Hepatitis?

Dr. Shanthi Vijayaraghavan

Dr. Shanthi Vijayaraghavan

  Porur, Bengaluru     Mar 19, 2019

   3 min     


Viral hepatitis is a disease which leads to an inflammation of the liver. The main culprit is the hepatitis virus (A, B, C, D, and E). These viruses spread and infect a healthy individual when his/her bloodstream comes in contact with the contaminated blood of an infected person.

Once the virus enters the body of a healthy human, it causes liver inflammation. If the treatment is prolonged, then the inflammation results in infection which leaves scars on the liver and disrupts its normal function. If this condition prolongs for more than six months, then it becomes a chronic condition.

The leading causes of hepatitis are:

  • Accumulation of toxins in the body
  • Few drugs and medications
  • Alcohol abuse

How does the virus enter the bloodstream?

The infected blood can enter the bloodstream of a healthy individual via the following means:

  • A sexual encounter with an infected person (rarely)
  • Sharing a razor and toothbrush (rarely)
  • Contaminated blood transfusion
  • Sharing needles and syringes

When do you need to suspect a case of Viral Hepatitis?

You can suspect a case of Viral Hepatitis:

1.    If you are experiencing one or many the following symptoms:

  • Sudden abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constant fatigue
  • Dark urination
  • Pale coloured stool
  • Yellow skin and eyes
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Flu-like symptoms which last for a long time

2.    If you were born to a hepatitis-positive mother

Hepatitis virus is a blood-borne virus transmitted from individual to individual via blood. When a child is growing inside a mother’s womb the umbilical cord transfers nutrients and oxygen (carried in the blood) to the baby (from the mother) and carries away the waste from the baby. If the mother is hepatitis positive, then the baby growing inside is likely to have a chronic hepatitis condition or other chronic liver condition. Perinatal HBV transmission can be fatal hence an early detection and preventive measure like vaccinating the infants within 12 hours of birth is vital in such cases.

3.   If you have a hepatitis-positive partner

This is a very rare case. Since a few studies have shown a very low transmission of the disease via unprotected heterosexual intercourse (< 0-3%) with a long-term, monogamous hepatitis-positive partner.

4.   If you have multiple sexual partners

Any form of hepatitis is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. Research shows that sexual transmission from women to men is more common than men to women. Hepatitis virus spreads via blood; therefore, if a man has an unprotected sexual encounter with a menstruating hepatitis-positive woman, the risk of sexual transmission is higher. That is why people who have multiple sex partners should practice safer sex.

5.    If you receive blood from an infected donor

Any form of hepatitis is transmitted via blood-to-blood contamination. If an individual is transfused with hepatitis virus contaminated blood, then he/she has a very high chance of getting hepatitis.

6.    If you are sharing needles and syringes

Tattoo instruments when used come directly in contact with the blood or the bodily fluids. If the instrument is used on a hepatitis positive patient then infections may be transmitted via the device to a healthy individual if it is used without being sterilized or without proper hygiene techniques.

This is because the hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus, which means that it spreads and infects a healthy individual when his/her bloodstream comes in contact with the contaminated blood (with the virus) of an infected person.

7.    Other ways

  • If you are HIV positive
  • If you have sexually transmitted disease
  • If you have been imprisoned
  • If you have been on long-term kidney dialysis

If you have a doubt, then please notify your doctor at the earliest. There are many ways of detecting hepatitis like the liver function tests, blood test, liver biopsy, etc.

*Disclaimer : The information provided in this content is for Health Care Providers

Tags:  Hepatitis,Liver inflammation ,liver,viral hepatitis,

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