b. Type B Hepatitis. The causative agents of this type of hepatitis are a filtrable
virus and the Australia antigen (1963-Blumberg). The mode of transmission is both
parenteral (intravenously here) and nonparenteral. Parenterally, the patient can
become infected by a blood transfusion from an infected person, a contaminated
needle, or a contaminated syringe. Another method of parenteral transmission is
through skin puncture caused, for instance, by an infected medical or dental instrument.
Nonparenteral transmission can occur between sexual partners. The infection rate for
type B hepatitis is far lower than for type A hepatitis; however, type B hepatitis is more
dangerous than type A because type B can result in massive liver destruction, chronic
hepatitis, coma, and even death.
c. Non-A/Non-B (NANB) Hepatitis. Very little is known about the agents which
cause NANB hepatitis. These agents may be transmitted parenterally. The viruses
may be transmitted by individuals who are chronic carriers; that is, persons who carry
the infection but are not actively ill themselves. Those countries where human waste is
used as fertilizer have a high rate of carriers of NANB hepatitis. Generally, NANB
hepatitis is very much like type B hepatitis.
SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS
a. General Information. Signs and symptoms vary from a minor flu-like illness
to a sudden, fatal liver failure. Much depends on the patient's immune response.
b. Prodromal Phase. The early phase of the disease may begin suddenly with
Nausea and vomiting.
(5) Urticarial eruptions (itchy hives) and arthralgias (pain in joints) may
occur, especially in Type B hepatitis infection.
c. Icteric Phase. This phase begins three to ten days after the initial symptoms.
Signs and symptoms include:
(3) Symptoms which have occurred throughout the patient's body become
less severe causing the patient to feel better in spite of the jaundice.