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What You Need To Know About Hepatitis D


What is Hepatitis D?


Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV- the virus is dependent on the hepatitis B virus for replication. This duality however often results in a more serious infection with worse outcomes. The vaccine for HBV provides protection from HDV also.


The risk of getting hepatitis D increases if you:


  • If you have risk factors for hepatitis B.
  • Have hepatitis B.
  • Are a man who has sex with other men.
  • Use unsterilized needles for intravenous (IV) drugs.


An infected person with hepatitis D can infect others even before symptoms appear. The routes of hepatitis D virus transmission are the same with hepatitis B virus. It can be transmitted through:


  • Urine.
  • Vaginal fluids.
  • Semen.
  • Blood.
  • From infected mother to her newborn


What are the Symptoms Seen In Hepatitis D infection?


The symptoms of hepatitis B and hepatitis D are very similar. Hepatitis D can make the symptoms of hepatitis B worse and as such, can cause symptoms in people who have hepatitis B but who never had symptoms. Symptoms include:


  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (Jaundice).
  • Joint pain.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Dark urine.
  • Fatigue.

Hepatitis D infection can lead to scarring of the liver, liver failure, and liver cancer.


How Is Hepatitis D Diagnosed?


Hepatitis D is diagnosed after a proper consultation, examination and blood tests.


How is Hepatitis D treated?


There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis D virus infection. However, antiviral agents used to treat Hepatitis B are used to treat Hepatitis D infection due to their nature.


How can Hepatitis D be prevented?


Prevention and control of Hepatitis D virus infection require prevention of HBV transmission which is achieved through:

  • Hepatitis B immunization.
  • Practicing safer sex.
  • Stopping the use unsterilized needles.


Article By: Dr. Leke Odufuye