An uncommon version of the hepatitis virus in the United states, it infects about 15 million people around the world. In the United states, hepatitis D infection occurs more often among adults than children. However, children from underdeveloped countries where hepatitis D is endemic are more likely to contract the virus through breaks in the skin.
Cause The virus requires the presence of hepatitis B virus to produce infection, so the frequency of hepatitis D closely parallels hepatitis B. Transmission from mother to child has not been documented in the United States. Hepatitis D is spread primarily through contaminated needles and exposure to blood products. sexual transmission of hepatitis D is less efficient than for hepatitis B.
Symptoms Hepatitis D cannot be distinguished from other causes of hepatitis. The development of a new episode of acute hepatitis in a patient with known chronic hepatitis B infection should prompt a search for evidence of a new hepatitis D infection.
Treatment There is no reliable treatment for hepatitis D. Interferon-A is not as promising as hoped.
Prevention The hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis D, since hepatitis B infection is required for hepatitis D infection to occur.
herpes Any of a variety of inflammatory skin conditions characterized by spreading or creeping small clustered blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus. Forms of the virus cause cold sores and the sexually transmitted disease genital herpes (see herpes, genital) characterized by blisters on the sex organs. The virus also causes many other conditions affecting the skin.
More than 80 known viruses exist within the herpes family. of these, eight are known to cause disease in humans, the most common being herpes simplex virus 1 and 2. Hsv1 and Hsv2 look identical under the microscope, and either type can infect the mouth or genitals. Usually, however, Hsv1 occurs above the waist, and Hsv2 below the waist. In children, Hsv2 is usually associated with infections of babies who acquire the disease during birth. However, there is a certain amount of overlap between the two, and conditions usually caused by Hsv2 may be caused by Hsv1, and vice versa. Both types are highly infectious, spread by direct contact with the lesions or by the fluid inside the blisters.
Herpes simplex virus most commonly causes cold sores in infants and children, and genital herpes in adolescents. Herpes simplex virus is also responsible for eye infections in children and for lesions on the parts of fingers and at other sites.
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