The infectious agent that causes it is a “hepacavirus (Hcv), belonging to the Flaviviridae family, of which six different genotypes and over 90 subtypes have been identified”. is usually asymptomatic but in patients who clinically manifest the disease, the onset presents with anorexia, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and jaundice.
While a fatal course is very rarely observed with a high percentage of cases, estimated up to 85%, which can become chronic.
“20-30% of patients with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis over 10-20 years and, in about 1-4%, subsequent hepatocellular carcinoma. The incubation period ranges from 2 weeks to 6 months, mostly it is between 6 and 9 weeks, ”the experts report. Transmission occurs mainly by parenteral route, but cases of sexual infection have also been reported.
Hepatitis D (Delta)
The infectious agent of hepatitis Delta is known as Hdv. “It is classified among the so-called satellite viruses, or subvirions, which require the presence of another virus to be able to replicate,” say the doctors. The hepatitis D virus, among other things, to infect liver cells requires in particular the “collaboration” of the hepatitis B virus, so the infection occurs in subjects also affected by Hbv.
In the case of simultaneous B and D virus infection, a pathology clinically similar to hepatitis B occurs, in the case of virus D infection in a chronic Hbv carrier, a new acute hepatitis occurs, sometimes fatal.
In both cases, the infection can become chronic and in this case it usually has a more severe course than that from virus B. The mode of transmission is the same as that of hepatitis B and the incubation period ranges from 2 to 8 weeks.Hepatitis E
The infectious agent of hepatitis E, “the Hev virus, has been provisionally classified in the Caliciviridae family,” says the ISS. It causes an acute disease, very similar to hepatitis A, although rarely hepatitis E can be fulminant and lead to death.
According to experts, the fulminant forms occur more frequently in pregnant women, especially in the third trimester of gestation, with lethality reaching up to 20%. As with hepatitis A, transmission occurs via the fecal-oral route, and water contaminated with faeces is the main vehicle of infection. The incubation period is from 15 to 64 days.
Treatments and vaccinesdeepeningHepatitis C, 300,000 Italians affected without knowing itAs the Humanitas Institute points out, therapy for the treatment of hepatitis changes according to the type and clinical stage of the disease itself. In the case of viral hepatitis B and C, in practice only the chronic forms require antiviral therapy with direct antiviral drugs.
Hepatitis A and E, on the other hand, tend to regress spontaneously within a few months, leaving no liver damage. As regards hepatitis A, a vaccine is available in Italy administered in two doses, six months apart, recommended for all subjects at risk, including chronic liver patients and cohabitants of subjects with acute hepatitis A.
“Viral hepatitis B, on the other hand, has been successfully attacked by the vaccination of newborns guaranteed by law since 1991”, explain the experts. To date, in fact, all Italians between the ages of 3 months and 38 years are protected against infection. The vaccine is offered free of charge by the NHS to subjects at risk for professional reasons, lifestyle or for a trip to endemic countries.