Hepatitus is a disease that affects the liver. There are several different forms, each causes a slightly different disease and each spreads in a different way.
This is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is often called "infectious hepatitis." The virus is spread by close personal contact when someone who has hepatitis A does not wash his or her hands thoroughly or by eating food or drinking water containing hepatitis A virus.
The hepatitis A vaccine is made from a killed virus and is administered in the upper arm. Adults require two doses of the vaccine for full protection. Children between 2-18 years of age require three doses of the vaccine. The vaccine usually causes very little reaction, except for some soreness in the upper arm.
Learn more about hepatitis A:
Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for:
This is a serious liver disease caused by a virus. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can lead to severe illness, liver damage, liver cancer and even death. Hepatitis B infects about 300,000 people each year, and kills about 5,000 people each year.
About one-quarter of hepatitis B carriers develop chronic hepatitis. Each year, 5,000 people in the U.S. die of liver failure related to hepatitis B. Another 1,500 die from liver cancer related to hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccine can provide protection against this dangerous disease. The vaccine can be given to infants, children and adults in three shots over six months. Hepatitis B vaccine is very safe and side effects are rare. All three shots are needed for full protection. Even pregnant women can be given the vaccine if their risk of getting the infection during their pregnancy is high, for example, if a spouse has a recent infection.
Hepatitis B immunizations are required for all children attending school in New York State. Children born after January 1, 1995 require hepatitis B immunization before entry into day care or pre-school. Children born after January 1, 1993 are required to have hepatitis B immunization before kindergarten entry.
This disease, (formerly called non-A, non-B hepatitis) is a liver disease caused by a recently identified blood-borne virus. Other types of viral hepatitis include hepatitis A (formerly call infectious hepatitis), hepatitis B (serum hepatitis), hepatitis D (delta hepatitis) and hepatitis E (a virus transmitted through the feces of an infected person). Approximately 200 cases of hepatitis C are reported in New York State each year.
Like hepatitis B, hepatitis C is spread by exposure to blood from an infected person, such as through blood transfusion or sharing needles. The risk of sexual transmission has not been thoroughly studied but appears to be small. There is no evidence that the hepatitis C virus can be transmitted by casual contact, through foods or by coughing or sneezing.
There are no special medicines or antibiotics that can be used to treat people with the acute form of hepatitis C but the FDA has approved a drug call recombinant alpha interferon for treating people with chronic hepatitis C. At the present time, a hepatitis C vaccine is not available.