Hepatitis is simply the inflammation of the liver which is primarily caused by Hepatitis virus which may be an RNA or a DNA virus depending on the type of disease.
Types of hepatitis
Caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which is normally transmitted by the contaminated food or the faeces of a person infected from HAV.
Transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
A most dangerous type, virus (HCV) is transmitted directly through body fluids as well as used syringes and razors etc.
The rare form of hepatitis usually occurs concurrently with the hepatitis B infection.
A waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs due to poor sanitation system and particularly by ingesting the contaminated water which is having HEV in it.
THE HEPATITIS-E OUTBREAK
Every year, there are an estimated 20 million HEV infections worldwide, leading to an estimated 3.3 million symptomatic cases of hepatitis E although found worldwide, the prevalence is highest in East and South Asia.
As mentioned before, the reason for its transmission is the faecal-oral route due to the faecal contamination of the drinking water owing to the improper sanitation system. Other routes may include:
• ingestion of undercooked meat or meat products derived from infected animals;
• transfusion of infected blood products
• Transmission from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
It takes about 2-10 weeks for the virus to incubate, replicate and show the symptoms which include:
• Initial Phase: mild fever, rash on the skin, reduced appetite, abdominal pain or vomiting
• Moderate Phase: jaundice with yellow urine and pale stools
• Advanced Phase: "hepatomegaly" which is described as the enlargement of the liver than its original size.
It is a self-limiting disease and does not require any sort of treatment.
At Population Level
Transmission of HEV and hepatitis E disease can be reduced by:
1. maintaining quality standards for public water supplies
2. Establishing proper disposal systems for human faeces
On an Individual Level
1. maintaining hygienic practices such as hand-washing with safe water, particularly before handling food
2. avoiding consumption of water and/or ice of unknown purity
3. adhering to WHO safe food practices.
We should take a few steps and precautions to save our own selves from this deadly disease like drinking pure and clean water after boiling and using the water from a trusted source.
Image source: www.noticiasdel6.com