5 Types of Hepatitis to be aware of and how to protect yourself

A research study by Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, revealed an increase in the number of hepatitis E cases in Singapore, and it could be due to the consumption of undercooked pig liver. But did you know that hepatitis E is just one of five main types of hepatitis? Read on to find out what they are, and how hepatitis can be prevented. (iStock photo) 

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A can bring about liver inflammation. It is commonly caused by consuming contaminated food and water; or having close physical contact or sex with a person infected with the Hepatitis A virus.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious infection caused by the hepatitis B virus, which can become chronic or lifelong. It is spread through blood and body fluids, and can lead to liver failure, liver cancer or liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).

In Singapore, about 1 in 35 adults are hepatitis B carriers.

Related article: How to prevent hepatitis B and symptoms to watch for

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis C virus and is spread in the same way a Hepatitis B, through contact with an infected person's blood, semen or body fluids.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D, caused by the Hepatitis D virus, can only be transmitted if the carrier is infected with Hepatitis B. Hepatitis D is spread through contact with infected blood or needles, or having unprotected sex with a carrier.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E results in swelling of the liver, and is caused by the Hepatitis E virus. It can be transmitted by drinking water or consuming food contaminated with the virus, or through oral or anal contact.

Related article: Effective ways to reverse a fatty liver

Tips to keep hepatitis at bay

Doing the following can help minimise your risk of getting hepatitis:

  • Cook shell fish properly before eating
  • Practice good food handling methods
  • Maintain good hygiene always. Wash hands with soap before and after meals
  • Complete all three vaccination doses to be effectively immune against the Hepatitis B virus. The vaccination is safe, effective and the best protection against Hepatitis B-related liver cancer
  • Avoid sharing needles, blades and razors
  • Go to reliable practitioners for acupuncture, body piercing or tattooing, and ensure they sterilise and dispose of used needles properly
  • Avoid having unprotected sex with multiple sex partners

Article sources: www.moh.gov.sg, hpb.gov.sg, World Health Organization

Related article: Drinking 2 cups of this daily can lower risk of liver disease


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