There are five different hepatitis viruses that can attack the liver:
Virus A, which comes from contaminated food. It does have a vaccine (included in the Health Ministry’s vaccine program) and so the number of cases has declined significantly in recent years. Anyone who intends to visit a Third World country and has not been vaccinated is highly recommended to do so.
Virus B is a virus that spreads after coming into contact with affected blood products and body fluids. It has high survivability outside the body. There is also a vaccine for this that babies receive as soon as they are born.
Virus C comes from contaminated needles and unsterilized medical equipment. There is no vaccine but there are many good treatments available, including a drugs-based protocol recently studied in an international study (in which our Liver Unit participated) and now available in the Ministry of Health’s medication basket
Virus D is a type of parasite of Virus B. It spreads in the same ways and causes a very serious disease. There is a certain treatment available but it is not ideal and has side effects.
Virus E is found in contaminated water or rainwater, particularly in the Third World. Some cases have been identified in developed countries in recent years. The disease is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. The vaccine is currently under development.