Viral Hepatitis

Our knowledge of viral hepatitis has developed remarkably over the last two decades Accordingly we have devoted a good deal of space elsewhere in this volume to the five major known agents, hepatitis A (Chapter 23), hepatitis B and D (Chapter 22), hepatitis C (Chapter 26), and hepatitis E (Chapter 24). Here, we simply produce a summary (Table 36-10) which brings together for easy comparison some of the main clinical and epidemiologic features of the five hepatitis viruses, that is, those whose main or only target appears to be the liver. It is remarkable that, although the acute diseases caused by these five viruses are clinically indistinguishable, the agents themselves are totally different, belonging in fact to five different families. The major generalizations that should be extracted from Table 36-10 are that (1) hepatitis A and E viruses are spread via the enteric route, whereas hepatitis B, C, and D viruses are transmitted parenterally, sexually, and (in one case at least) perinatally; and (2) only the latter subgroup, hepatitis B, C, and D viruses, establish

Table 36-10

Viral Hepatitis

Table 36-10

Viral Hepatitis

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