Hepatitis D

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Overview

Hepatitis D, also known as “delta hepatitis,” is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are also infected with the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis D is spread when blood or other body fluids from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis D can be an acute, short-term infection or become a long-term, chronic infection. Hepatitis D can cause severe symptoms and serious illness that can lead to life-long liver damage and even death. People can become infected with both hepatitis B and hepatitis D viruses at the same time (known as “coinfection”) or get hepatitis D after first being infected with the hepatitis B virus (known as “superinfection”). There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis D. However, prevention of hepatitis B with hepatitis B vaccine also protects against future hepatitis D infection.

Symptoms

Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)

Stomach upset.

Pain in your belly.

Throwing up.

Fatigue.

Not feeling hungry.

Joint pain.

Dark urine.

Causes

Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are also infected with the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis D is spread when blood or other body fluids from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis D can be an acute, short-term infection or become a long-term, chronic infection.

Risk factors

Injection drug users.

Persons with hemophilia.

Infants/children of immigrants from areas with high rates of HBV infection.

Household contacts of chronically infected persons.

Persons with multiple sex partners or diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease.

Men who have sex with men.

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Complications

What are the complications of chronic hepatitis D? Chronic hepatitis D may lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. People who have chronic hepatitis B and D are more likely to develop these complications than people who have chronic hepatitis B alone.

Prevention

Avoid sharing drug equipment, such as: ...

Practice safe sex. ...

Avoid dental, medical or cosmetic procedures that penetrate the skin with unsterilized equipment. ...

Wear latex gloves if you are likely to be in contact with someone else's blood or bodily fluids.