Essay by car1car2University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2006

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Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver cells which is caused by certain types of viruses (A, B, C, D, and E) and it could be acute (lasts for a short period of time) or chronic (lasts for more than 6 months) [2].

All types of hepatitis have some common symptoms such as jaundice, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, malaise, and pain and discomfort in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen [1]. If these symptoms persist for a long time they might develop some serious complications and that is because of the development into either fatty liver (in the case of hepatitis A) or chronic hepatitis (in the case of hepatitis B, C, and D) or may be accompanied by fibrosis and progression to cirrhosis[4].

Hepatitis A

It is a highly infectious disease that can be spread by feco-oral rout [1]. That is why this disease can spread so easily in poor sanitation areas [2].

The incubation period, which is the period from the infection to the appearance of the symptoms, is 2-4 weeks [1].

Prevention from this disease is by giving vaccines especially for travelers to endemic areas, and giving anti HAV immunoglobulin for the people who are suspicious to have this disease[4]. But the most important way to prevent the disease is by improving the hygiene [2].

Hepatitis B

Blood and other body fluids is the main source of infection for this virus [1]. People who are in high risk to be infected are drug abusers who share needles, new born babies from infected mothers, sexual contact, contact with infected saliva, and hospital employees[2]. Incubation period is long (6 weeks to 6 months)[2].

The severity of this disease can vary from asymptomatic to chronic persistent to chronic active which might develop to cirrhosis[4].

Prevention is by giving HBV vaccine...