hepatitis%20c
HEPATITIS C

Hepatitis C can be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants, percutaneous (especially IV drug use), sexual or perinatal route.

It has an incubation period of 14-180 days.

Goal of treatment is to prevent progression to chronic hepatitis C through antiviral treatment of acute hepatitis C. Also, it aims to prevent occurrence of liver-related complications through antiviral treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

Signs and Symptoms

  • The majority of acute viral hepatitis infections are asymptomatic or they can cause an anicteric illness that may not be diagnosed as hepatitis
  • Hepatitis A generally causes minor illness in childhood with >80% of infections being asymptomatic
    • Adults are more likely to produce clinical symptoms
  • Hepatitis B, C and D may also be asymptomatic
  • Symptomatic hepatitis B will depend on the mode and time of transmission
    • Vertical transmission from mother to child is almost always asymptomatic
    • Other routes of transmission are more likely to produce symptomatic disease (30% of cases transmitted by IV drug use are icteric)

Preicteric Phase

  • Nonspecific systemic symptoms (eg myalgia, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, malaise with discomfort in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen)
  • Altered sense of smell or taste, coryza, photophobia, headache, cough, diarrhea, dark urine and serum sickness-like syndrome
  • Hepatomegaly, splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy may be seen on physical exam

Icteric Phase

  • Jaundice, usually noted after onset of fever or upon lysis of fever

Fulminant Hepatitis

  • Development of symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy (eg confusion, drowsiness within 8 weeks of symptoms or within 2 weeks of onset of jaundice)
  • Hypoglycemia, prolonged prothrombin time (PT)

Pathogenesis

Routes of Transmission of Hepatitis

Hepatitis A: Oral-fecal

Hepatitis B: Perinatal, percutaneous, sexual, close person-to-person contact ie by open cuts and sores

Hepatitis C: Blood transfusions, organ transplants, percutaneous (especially IV drug use), sexual, perinatal

Hepatitis D: Sexual, percutaneous especially IV drug use

  • Found only in patients with hepatitis B since it requires the hepatitis B outer coat

Hepatitis E: Oral-fecal, blood transfusion in endemic areas

Incubation Period

Hepatitis A: 15-50 days

Hepatitis B: 30-180 days

Hepatitis C: 14-180 days

Hepatitis D: 30-180 days

Hepatitis E: 21-60 days

Other Characteristics of Hepatitis Viruses

  • Hepatitis B virus contains a DNA nucleic acid while A, C, and E viruses have an RNA nucleic acid
    • Hepatitis D has an incomplete RNA and needs the B virus to replicate
  • Hepatitis A and E viruses cause epidemics
  • Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses may predispose to chronic disease and hepatic malignancy
Digital Edition
Asia's trusted medical magazine for healthcare professionals. Get your MIMS Gastroenterology - Malaysia digital copy today!
Sign In To Download
Editor's Recommendations
Most Read Articles
Dr. Joseph Delano Fule Robles, 18 Apr 2019

A recent study by investigators from Hong Kong showed that poor sleep quality and longer sleep onset latency are associated with an increased risk of peptic ulcer disease (PUD) recurrence. Depression is also shown to be associated with subsequent incidence of PUD.