Oct 13, 2012
is there hepatitis d? please let me know thanks
| Response from Dr. Taylor
Yes there is a hepatitis D virus, HDV, also called hepatitis Delta. It cannot replicate (make more viruses) or cause infection without help from the hepatitis B virus. So HDV only infects persons who are simultaneously infected with hepatitis B (you catch both viruses at the same time) or persons already infected with chronic hepatitis B (you were exposed to HDV at a time when you already had chronic hepatitis B).
HDV is not found at equal rates in all parts of the world. For example, it is rare in U.S.
When both HDV and hepatitis B exist together in a person, the person can develop more severe liver disease than may occur with hepatitis B alone. HDV may be diagnosed with a blood test, in persons with hepatitis B. There is a great tool to prevent HDV: the hepatitis B vaccine, because without hepatitis B, one cannot catch HDV.
For people with HDV and hepatitis B, it is important to cut down and ideally stop using cigarettes and alcohol of all types, as these may increase the risk of liver cancer. Check with your doctor about medications to treat the liver infections. Check with your doctor about getting an HIV test if you are not already known to be HIV-positive.
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