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What you should know about the different types of Hepatitis viruses

Published on 16 August 2018|
1 min read

They all affect your liver.
By Louise M., Carrybeans

Hepatitis is the term used to describe an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting (ultimately resolving itself without treatment) or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis (scar tissue gradually replaces healthy liver cells) or liver cancer.

Based on the Ministry of Health’s record in 2017, Sabah and Sarawak have the highest number of carriers for Hepatitis B in Malaysia. But did you know that there are 5 main types of Hepatitis viruses?

The 5 types of Hepatitis

Type A

Caused by: Hepatitis A Virus (HCV)

How is it transmitted: 1) Consumption of contaminated water or food. 2) Certain sex practices.

Symptoms: Can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-coloured urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

Vaccine: Available to prevent HAV

Prevention: HAV vaccine, improved sanitation, food safety and immunization


Jaundice | Credit: Medical News Today 

Type B

Caused by: Hepatitis B Virus (HCB)

How is it transmitted: 1) Exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids. 2) From infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood. 3) Transfusions of HBV-contaminated blood and blood products. $) Contaminated injections during medical procedures. 5) Injection drug use.

Symptoms: Can include jaundice, dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Vaccine: Available to prevent HBV

Prevention: HBV vaccine


Type C

Caused by: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

How is it transmitted: 1) Exposure to infective blood 2) Transfusions of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures 3) Injection drug use 4) Sexual transmission (possible but less common)

Symptoms: May exhibit fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-coloured faeces, joint pain and jaundice

Vaccine: No vaccine

Prevention: Depends upon reducing the risk of exposure to the virus in health-care settings and in higher risk populations


Type D

Caused by: Hepatitis D Virus (HDV)

How is it transmitted: Occur only in those who are infected with HBV

Symptoms: Can lead to a mild-to-severe or even fulminant hepatitis, or progression to a more severe disease

Vaccine: Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from HDV infection

Prevention: HBV vaccine for immunization, blood safety, injection safety, and harm reduction services.

(Note: Hepatitis B immunization does not provide protection against HDV for those already HBV infected.)


Type E

Caused by: Hepatitis E Virus (HEV)

How is it transmitted: Consumption of contaminated water or food

Symptoms: Can include mild fever, reduced appetite (anorexia), nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, itching (without skin lesions), skin rash, or joint pain, jaundice, with dark urine and pale stools; and a slightly enlarged, tender liver (hepatomegaly).

Vaccine: Developed but are not widely available

Prevention: Avoiding consumption of water and/or ice of unknown purity, maintaining hygienic practices

For more details, go to the World Health Organisation  website.

Featured Image Credit: MiSistemaInmune

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