Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that includes five different viral strains, referred to by letters from A through E. Of the five, hepatitis B, C and D can develop into long-term infection, or chronic hepatitis. This can lead to serious and life-threatening diseases such as liver failure or liver cancer. Hepatitis B and C account for 1.3 million deaths per year – more than HIV/AIDS, or TB, or malaria (WHO, 2020).
One of the most common transmission routes of hepatitis B is from mother to child during delivery. Hepatitis B infection in infancy is the most likely to become chronic and this is a major cause of death among young children. The diagnosis of hepatitis B in pregnant women can contribute significantly to the eradication of hepatitis. IDA Foundation offers diagnostic tests for hepatitis B, find it in our Product Indicator.
There is no treatment for hepatitis A or E, but the infection normally resolves itself after a few months. An effective vaccine exists for hepatitis B, and acute hepatitis B often clears on its own. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B can take 24 to 48 months and is not always effective.