Is hepatitis a water borne disease?

Water borne diseases are one of the most common diseases throughout the world. These diseases kill almost one fourth population. Which means combined deaths by disasters such as  aids, car accidents and war. These diseases are caused when water is infected by human or animal feces and is used for regular consumption. To understand if Hepatitis is a waterborne disease, we must know all about Hepatitis.

What is Hepatitis?

When the liver swells up due to some viral infections or other reasons, that condition is called Hepatitis. Hepatitis can be self limiting or can extend even up to liver cancer. Toxic substances such as alcohol and certain drugs can cause this condition to multiply. There are, currently six types of Hepatitis conditions.

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) –

This condition is caused due to consumption of water or food contaminated by feces of any person or animal. People with poor sanitation tend to suffer from this disease.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) –

This disease is transmitted when one comes in contact with a person with infected blood, semen or other bodily fluids. Around 350 million people in the world are known to be affected by this chronic disease.

Hepatitis C (HCV) –

When anyone is exposed to infected blood of a person with Hepatitis C virus, then this condition can be caused. It also spreads through injections, drug use and sexual contact.

Hepatitis D (HDV) –

A very rare disease, Hepatits D is caused due to infected blood and in the presence of Hepatitis B virus. It is also known as Delta Hepatitis.

Hepatitis E (HEV) –

This virus, like Hepatitis A is caused due to poor sanitation. When water supply is ingested with fecal matter, this kind of disease can be caused. Although very rare, it is mainly found in Africa.

How is Hepatitis waterborne?

The most common form of Hepatitis that occurs is Hepatitis A. It is caused due to contamination of water by the feces of an infected person. The incubation period for this disease is an average of 28 days. Symptoms of Hepatitis A are Jaundice, flu-like fatigue, dark urine, nausea and loss of appetite. Symptoms can be really slight at times that people don’t even get to know about it. There is no cure for Hepatitis A as such. The treatment only includes bed rest ad intake of fluids.

There is a vaccine for this disease. It includes two shots two weeks apart. It provides protection for a period of 15 years.

So the answer to the above question is – Yes, hepatitis A and E are waterborne diseases, but not all of the other hepatitis are. Dirty water or water contaminated due to the waste material of animals or humans can cause Hepatitis. It is mostly seen in the third World countries where sanitation is really bad. So believe in the saying “Prevention is better than cure” And prevent yourself from conditions where you think there is not enough hygiene.. Hepatitis A is a serious disease and can prove to be fatal at times too.

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