Viral Hepatitis: Causes, Signs and Treatments

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  • 0:01 A Trip to the Zoo
  • 0:23 What Is Viral Hepatitis?
  • 1:02 Different Types of…
  • 4:24 Consequences of Viral…
  • 5:09 Diagnosis and…
  • 5:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will discuss the different types of viruses that cause viral hepatitis as well as their different characteristics. We will also talk about what kind of harm these viruses bring and how a person can be treated.

A Trip to the Zoo

This lesson will involve a little trip to the zoo. There, we'll look at some animals - insects included - and how their names or features relate to, of all things, viruses. Hopefully that way you'll remember the important characteristics of each virus a bit better and how these viruses affect the liver.

What Is Viral Hepatitis?

The most important thing I want you to know before we head out is that these viruses all cause something known as viral hepatitis, which is the inflammation of the liver due to a virus.

Viral hepatitis can either be acute, meaning sudden and severe in onset, or chronic, meaning it develops over a long period of time. The viruses that spread viral hepatitis may do so by the fecal-oral route, which is a disgusting notion that someone else pooped out the virus and that virus entered the food or water supply which you ended up consuming! They can also spread via things like sexual contact or blood transfusions.

Okay, now that we got the boring stuff out of the way in the classroom, it's time we get on the bus and take our ride to the zoo.

Different Types of Viral Hepatitis

As we pull up to the zoo and buy our tickets, we notice they have a new temporary exhibit on display with all sorts of insects. One of the exhibits is called the A Cute Ant exhibit. We all buy tickets and get going there right away.

The exhibit has a lot of, well, ants crawling about. They're all tiny, short in stature, and very cute. Ants, by the first letter of the word, are representative of the hepatitis A virus. But because they're part of the A Cute Ant exhibit and are short in stature, you can now easily remember the HAV, the hepatitis A virus, causes an acute disease. That is to say, hepatitis caused by HAV is short in duration.

But don't let the name fool you. Just like a cute ant may have a severe sting, so it is that HAV can be quite a severe disease; and just like there are a lot of ants crawling around, HAV is a common cause of hepatitis in the U.S.

After getting scared away from the exhibit by all the biting ants, we rush off so we don't miss the bottlenose dolphin show. There will be all sorts of nifty tricks on display at the pool!

The B and D in bottlenose dolphin stand for HBV and HDV, respectively. As the show starts, one of the dolphin handlers tells us a bit about these dolphins. These cute dolphins can live upwards of several decades, and they are pack animals that depend on one another to live. They're also, thankfully, not endangered yet, so they're more common than other types of dolphins.

All of these facts are clues to help remember the nature of HBV and HDV, as well. HDV depends on HBV for replication. It's like a pack animal that cannot infect a human unless HBV was there first. HBV, like HAV, is another common cause of hepatitis in the U.S. Finally, both HBV and HDV, like cute and long-lived bottlenose dolphins, can be either acute or chronic in nature.

Next, we head off to the famous giant cockroach exhibit no zoo is complete without. These cockroaches produce some scary hissing sounds. There are tons of cockroaches everywhere, and they have been around for literally millions of years! Their abundance, the ability of their species to survive for so long, and their first letter all clue us into the fact that HCV is the most common cause of chronic viral hepatitis in the U.S., but just as a side-note, it can also cause an acute infection.

Last, but certainly not least, we head off to look at some earwigs. Those things are disgusting. But because they live for a short time, about a year or so, we can remember that HEV is an acute disease, just like HAV.

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