Hepatitis B (hep B) vaccine gives prolonged protection, but 3 shots over a half year are usually required. In the U.S., all infants receive hep B vaccine. Two vaccines (Energix-B, and Recombivax-HB) are available in the US. The first dose of hep B vaccine is frequently given while the newborn is in the hospital or at the first doctor visit following birth. The second dose is given about 30 days after the initial dose. A booster dose is performed approximately six months later. Babies born to mothers testing positive for hep B receive, in addition, HBIG (hep B immune globulin) for prompt protection. Older children (11-12 years) are advised to receive a hep B booster as are adults in high-risk situations including healthcare workers, dentists, intimate and household contacts of patients with chronic hep B infection, male homosexuals, individuals with multiple sexual partners, dialysis patients, IV drug users, and recipients of repeated transfusions. Healthcare workers accidentally exposed to materials infected with hep B (such as needle sticks), and individuals with known sexual contact with hep B patients are usually given both HBIG and vaccine to provide immediate and long term protection.
- Hepatitis C
Inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usually spread via blood transfusion (rare), hemodialysis, and needle sticks. The damage hepatitis C does to the liver can lead to cirrhosis and its complications as well as cancer. Transmission of the virus by sexual contact is rare. At least half of […]
- PCR (polymerase chain reaction)
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a technique in molecular genetics that permits the analysis of any short sequence of DNA (or RNA) even in samples containing only minute quantities of DNA or RNA. PCR is used to reproduce (amplify) selected sections of DNA or RNA for analysis. Previously, amplification of DNA involved cloning the segments […]
- Hepatitis C virus
A single-stranded RNA virus in the Flaviviridae family that causes hepatitis C. Abbreviated HCV. The HCV genome contains some 10,000 nucleotides and encodes a single polyprotein of 3,000 amino acids. HCV was discovered in 1989. Before that time, hepatitis C was referred to as non-A, non-B hepatitis.
- Hepatitis D
Liver inflammation due to the hepatitis D virus (HDV), which causes disease only in patients who additionally have the hepatitis B virus. Transmission occurs via infected blood, needles, or sexual contact with an infected person. Symptoms are identical to those of hepatitis B. HDV infection can be prevented with the hepatitis B vaccine and through […]
- Hepatitis D, E, F, and G
Lesser known (than hepatitis A, B, and C), the most significant of these seems to be type D, or the delta agent, which only causes disease in the presence of the hepatitis B virus.