2018 was an exciting year in many ways. Many changes for the better were made, but a few changes for the worst occurred as well. One of the most notable adverse changes that need to be addressed is the return of hepatitis. Hepatitis has been around for decades, but just last year the condition saw a rapid increase in the number of cases.
What Causes Hepatitis?
Hepatitis comes in three forms, A, B, and C. each form is an infection of the liver, but there are differences in how they affect the body and how they’re contracted. Hepatitis A is most commonly seen in those who travel internationally without receiving their vaccination. Food and water sources in unsanitary or uncontrolled areas carry hepatitis A. To avoid hepatitis A, you should always ensure you’re vaccinated before traveling overseas and only dine in established places. Hepatitis A is typically detectable by symptoms including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Hepatitis B and C are very serious as well, and actually, have an even higher death rate than hepatitis A because they often show no symptoms at all. As the drug epidemic in America continues to grow, so do the cases of hepatitis B, and C. injectable opioids and other substances often lead to addicts sharing needles and spreading the infection from one to another through blood. Since no symptoms are present in most cases, the infected individual continues to spread the disease unknowingly. The rise in individuals choosing not to get vaccinated and the growing drug problem in this country are the leading causes of the return of hepatitis.
What if Hepatitis is Untreated?
Undetected and untreated hepatitis can have dire circumstances. The liver infection can turn into liver cancer over time, and many infected individuals don’t see any symptoms until it reaches that point. Untreated hepatitis is a viral infection that can be spread from one person to another. Even hepatitis A can be spread from one individual to another through fecal to oral acts that are becoming increasingly popular in younger generations. The medical community hopes to educate more individuals about their potential risk of hepatitis A, B, and C so that they can get tested and vaccinated as needed. To return numbers of hepatitis cases as low as they once were, people need to become more aware of the problem and actively trying to stop the spread of the infection.