Hepatitis, types of hepatitis, and causes of it

 What is hepatitis?

Liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters blood and fights infections.


Hepatitis can said to be an inflammation of the liver cells and damage to the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its functions can be affected. Hepatitis is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis such as heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions.

Hepatitis could also be caused by the hepatitis virus which could be easily contracted from a victim through contact of body fluids. This could be either through sexual contact, blood contact or even saliva. It could also be contracted if by chance a person consumes the waste passed out from a carrier. Slight contact with these fluids can transmit the disease.

The life cycle of hepatitis B virus


The life cycle of hepatitis B Virus 🦠

After liver cell membrane attachment to most likely cell-associated heparan sulfate proteoglycans, the viral particle binds specifically to an unknown hepatocyte-specific preS1-receptor. Until now, the precise mechanism of viral entry has not been elucidated. Both, endocytosis and direct fusion of the viral envelope with the plasma membrane have been proposed as potential pathways. After uncoating/release into the cytoplasm and transport of the nucleocapsid to the nucleus, the partially double-stranded viral relaxed circular DNA (rcDNA) is repaired by both viral and cellular enzymes. Specifically, the incomplete plus-strand of the rcDNA is completed by the viral polymerase and in another step the viral polymerase and RNA-primers used for DNA plus-strand synthesis are removed by cellular enzymes. Eventually, covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) is formed by covalent ligation of both DNA strands. Lack of cccDNA formation in non-human host cells, such as hepatocytes from HBV transgenic mice suggests that host-specific factors may regulate this ligation process. There is evidence that each infected cell contains 1–50 cccDNA molecules as unique episomal minichromosomes. As a replicative intermediate of the HBV life cycle, cccDNA is crucial for the persistence of HBV infection. Importantly, this seems to be true even in patients that show serologic evidence of viral clearance. Viral cccDNA serves as a template for RNA synthesis. All viral RNA species are transcribed from the cccDNA using the cellular transcriptional machinery.

The eigh stages of the hepatitis C viral life cycle

The earlier you are treated for hepatitis C, the better. So it is important to understand the life cycle of the virus. It has eight stages:

The life cycle of hepatitis C Virus 🦠

Stage 1:- HCV makes itself at home in a liver cell. The virus is covered with a coating that contains specific proteins. These proteins locate and attach to an element on the surface of your liver cell called a receptor. The receptor receives signals for your liver cell.


Stage 2:- The virus enters your liver cell’s outer barrier. The barrier then surrounds the virus, swallows it up, and brings it into the cell.


Stage 3:- The virus coating breaks down. Viral RNA carrying genetic information is released into your liver cell. This may happen when the virus penetrates the outer barrier. It could also be due to liver enzymes dissolving the cell.


Stage 4:- The viral RNA prepares to reproduce. It mimics your liver cell’s RNA and begins producing its RNA materials. It may also prevent your liver cell from functioning properly. Sometimes, the viral RNA causes your liver cell to reproduce, too.


Stage 5:- Things amp up as the viral RNA constructs a template for replicating itself. The replication process of the virus isn’t completely understood. The viral RNA is cloned over and over to create new viruses.


Stage 6:- The virus’s coating is made of different protein-based coverings. These are developed by ribosomes, or cell protein builders, during this stage and released.

Stage 7:- Protein units called capsomeres come together and form new particles around the viral RNA. These make a covering shaped like a sphere, known as a capsid. The capsid protects the virus’s genetic material.


Stage 8:- In the final stage, the new virus creates a bud with itself inside. A protective coating surrounds the bud. It’s released through the barrier of your liver cell, ready to infect another of your liver cells. This process continues until the infected liver cell dies.


There are different types and causes of hepatitis, but the symptoms can be similar.


Hepatitis was classified as

• Hepatitis A

• Hepatitis B

• Hepatitis C

• Hepatitis D and

• Hepatitis E.


Each type of hepatitis is cause by different of virally transmitted hepatitis


The 5 Types of Viral Hepatitis

As a different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis, then,

Hepatitis A-VIRUS

Hepatitis A is caused by an infection with the hepatitis A-virus (HeAV). This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted by consuming of food or water contaminated by feces from a person positively or infected with hepatitis A virus.



Hepatitis B-VIRUS

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids of infected person, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, containing the hepatitis B-virus (HeBV). Injection drugs use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing Sharp objects with an infected person increase your risk of getting hepatitis B virus.



Hepatitis C-VIRUS

Hepatitis C is from the hepatitis C-virus (HeCV). Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with body fluids of infected person, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact.





Hepatitis D-VIRUS

Hepatitis D-VIRUS also called delta hepatitis, hepatitis D is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HeDV). HeDV is contracted through direct contact with infected blood of a person.



Hepatitis E-VIRUS

Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E-virus (HeEV). Hepatitis E is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and typically results from ingesting fecal matter that mostly contaminates the water supply.



If not treated with caution, this hepatitis virus would gradually grow into a more severe state which can be results in scarring of the liver, abnormal functionality of the liver and in due time, chronic hepatitis, liver cancer and cirrhosis.


Symptoms Of Hepatitis

The symptoms of the different types of hepatitis are similar, but laboratory tests can identify the specific type of hepatitis Virus that a person has. Hepatitis that are chronic, like hepatitis B and C you may not have symptoms at the beginning. Symptoms may not occur until the damage start affecting the the functions liver.


Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis that appear at the beginning include:


1. Fatigue

2. Flu-like symptoms

3. Dark urine

4. Pale stool

5. Abdominal pain

6. Loss of appetite

7. Malaise, or a general feeling of being unwell

itchy skin

8. Muscle or joint aches

9. Unexplained weight loss

10. Yellow skin and eyes which may be sign of jaundice


Causes Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B-virus (HeBV). Infection with hepatitis B is usually acute, or short-term, but it can become chronic. Person can get infected if he come into contact with body fluids of infected person, such as blood, saliva, semen, and vaginal fluids. Hepatitis B is not spread through casual contact.


The virus can be transmit through:

a. having sexual intercourse without using protected material.

b. sharing needles.

c. Having a tattoo with unsterilized material.

d. Accidental skin pricks with medical equipment.

e. Sharing personal items, such as a toothbrush or razor.

f. Breastfeeding, if the mother has the virus.

The symptoms are similar to those of other types of hepatitis. They include abdominal pain and jaundice.

Long-term complications, such as liver cancer or cirrhosis, can affect around 15-25% of people with chronic hepatitis B. This can lead to liver failure, where your liver stops working properly, and even liver cancer. It can also cause blood vessel problems and kidney disease. Hepatitis B can even cause death if it’s not well treated.



Differences between hepatitis B and hepatitis C are:

1. A vaccine is available for prevention of hepatitis B virus (HeBV) in many countries, But there is no vaccine available for hepatitis C virus (HeCV). In USA, most infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine series starting at birth. Adults and other age groups may also receive it.

2. Hepatitis B and C are different viruses, and person can have both hepatitis B and hepatitis C at the same time.

3. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and body fluids, while hepatitis C is usually only transmitted through blood. Both viruses can be acquired in similar ways, such as using contaminated needles, accidental needle, tattoos and body piercing, through sexual contact, and from mother-to-baby during childbirth.

4. Chronic (long-term) hepatitis C is more common than chronic hepatitis B. In most cases (about 95% of the time). Acute (short-term) hepatitis B goes away on its own in about 6 months. Between 60% and 80% of people who contract hepatitis C go on to develop chronic disease that may go undiagnosed for decades. Chronic hepatitis can lead to liver damage and even liver cancer.

5. Over 90% of people who have not received treatment for hepatitis C can be cured within 8 to 12 weeks using newer oral medications, but treatment for hepatitis B, if needed, may be long-term or lifelong.

6. There is no cure for hepatitis B, but once you recover from acute hepatitis B-virus you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life. Even after being cured with oral medications, you can still get reinfected with hepatitis C if you engage in unsafe behaviors like sharing needles or having unprotected sex.

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