Hepatitis D virus
Hepatitis is a condition characterized by liver inflammation. There are several factors that could lead to hepatitis but one of the major causes is due to infection of certain viruses. There are five major viruses causing hepatitis. They are referred to as hepatitis A virus (causing hepatitis A), hepatitis B virus (causing hepatitis B), hepatitis C virus (causing hepatitis C), hepatitis D virus (causing hepatitis D), and hepatitis E virus (causing hepatitis E).
Hepatitis D virus belongs to the genus Orthohepevirus of the family Hepeviridae. It is a small virus with a diameter of 36 nm. It has an outer coat with hepatitis B surface antigens and lipid surrounding the nucleocapsid. It has a negative-sense, single-stranded, circular RNA of 1679 nucleotides, which is high in GC nucleotide content. The virus spreads by parenteral transmission, i.e. blood, blood products, and intimate personal contact. It propagates only in the presence of hepatitis B virus (superinfection or co-infection). Thus, infection with hepatitis D virus and hepatitis B virus is not uncommon.
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