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Viral hepatitis

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Definition

noun

A type of hepatitis that is caused by infection from viruses


Supplement

The hepatitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the liver. The common symptoms include jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes) and hepatomegaly (liver enlargement). The symptoms are more pronounced in adults than in children. There are many reasons that can result in hepatitis. One of the major causes of hepatitis is viral infection.

There are five major viruses causing hepatitis. They are referred to as hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis D virus, and hepatitis E virus. They are from different genera (i.e. Hepatovirus, Orthohepadnavirus, Hepacivirus, Deltavirus, and Hepevirus, respectively). Nevertheless, they produce common symptoms. Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, other symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, dark urine, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and joint pain. Based on the type of virus involved, the hepatitis may be classified as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, or hepatitis E. These are of medical importance since they are associated with outbreaks and deaths. In particular, hepatitis B and C cause chronic hepatitis that may lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer. The mode of transmission of hepatitis A and E is by ingestion of contaminated food or water whereas hepatitis B, C, and D are transmitted by parenteral contact with infected body fluids.


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