“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver and also refers to a group of viral infections that affect the liver. The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The hepatitis B virus is a small DNA virus that belongs to the Hepadnaviridae family of viruses. The hepatitis B virus causes hepatitis B in humans. Related viruses in this family cause hepatitis in ducks, ground squirrels and woodchucks. Hepatitis D is a type of viral hepatitis caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV), which needs the hepatitis B virus to exist. Only people who are already infected with hepatitis B can be infected with hepatitis D.
This can be caused through:
- Infected blood, sex, and needles
- From an infected mother to her newborn
- Get the hepatitis B vaccine
Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). The incubation period from the time of exposure to onset of symptoms is 6 weeks to 6 months. HBV is found in highest concentrations in blood and in lower concentrations in other body fluids Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infected blood, through sex with an infected person, and from mother to child during childbirth, whether the delivery is vaginal or via cesarean section.
The cause of this condition is an infection with the hepatitis D virus. This virus is a RNA virus that belongs to the genus Deltavirus. Once inside the body, the virus enters liver cells, where it begins to make millions of copies of itself.
Acute hepatitis B is the period of illness that occurs during the first one to four months after acquiring the virus. Only 30% to 50% of adults develop significant symptoms during acute infection. Early symptoms are fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice. When the phase gets worse the symptoms may follow, circulation problems, dark urine, headache, drowsiness etc.
The hepatitis B vaccine offers the best protection. All infants and unvaccinated children, adolescents, and at-risk adults should be vaccinated. There is no effective treatment for either Hepatitis D.