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 this item 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.