Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E

The hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses cause inflammation of the liver.

Overview

The hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses cause inflammation of the liver. This can have no noticeable symptoms, or cause symptoms such as fever, pressure in the stomach, itching or yellowish discolouration of the eyes and skin. Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B are available.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

Many infections have no symptoms, or the symptoms are so mild that they aren't detected. Depending on the virus, state of health and age of the patient, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Problems with performance or concentration
  • Fever
  • Stomach ache; pressure in the upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Other symptoms

  • Itching
  • Yellowish discolouration of eyes or skin (jaundice, icterus)
  • Dark brown urine
  • Light-coloured stools
  • Superficial rashes and swelling can occur in the face
  • Joint pain
  • Sore muscles, muscle weakness

Complications

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses

The different viruses have different modes of infection:

  • Hepatitis A and E
    • Contaminated drinking water
    • Food (in particular mussels, vegetables, salad and undercooked meat)
    • Close contact with someone who has the virus
  • Hepatitis B, C and D
    • Skin injuries
    • Blood
    • Dirty syringes
    • Sexual intercourse
    • Transmission from mother to baby during birth

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test (liver function, search for viruses)
  • Ultrasound (sonography)
  • Removal of liver tissue samples (liver biopsy)
Possible therapies
  • Hepatitis B and C: Medication
  • Hepatitis A, D and E: Usually heal on their own

What can I do myself?

  • Don't drink alcohol
  • Rest your body, bed rest
  • Healthy, low-fat diet
  • Food and drinking hygiene
  • Hepatitis B, C and D: Safer sex (use condoms, don’t get sperm or blood in your mouth)

Hepatitis B vaccination

  • In Switzerland, vaccination is recommended for youths between the ages of 11 and 15
  • Recommended for people with an increased professional risk, e.g. medical staff

Hepatitis A vaccination

  • Advisable for people who travel in high-risk areas (see “Further information”)

When to see a doctor?

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Persistent pressure in upper abdomen or stomach ache
  • Yellowish discolouration of eyes or skin
  • Persistent itching
  • Dark urine, and
  • Light-coloured stools

Further information

Swiss Hepatitis (Hepatitis Schweiz)
www.hepatitis-schweiz.ch

Medical advice for travellers
www.safetravel.ch

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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