Hepatitis D – Overview

In 1977 hepatitis D virus (HDV) was discovered which is an RNA virus but its structure is totally different from hepatitis A, B or C. It will cause a variation of these types of illnesses which would be an infection that will require assistance of viral particles that will replicate and cause infection to the other hepatocytes found within the hepatitis B virus also known as HBV. The medical development is various from acute self-limited infection to an acute fulminant liver failure.
This type of chronic liver infection can be very dangerous and will in many cases lead to associated complications or end-stage liver disease.


The liver is the only organ that hepatitis D will affect within the chronic or acute inflammatory process and it is spread within three genotypes: the first one will be a worldwide distribution, the second one was discovered in Japan, Taiwan and in northern Asia and the third one will be the one that was discovered in South Africa. Hepatitis D virus will replicate solely independently in the hepatocyte but at the same time it will require the hepatitis B virus surface antigen also known as HBsAg for its propagation. Because of the direct cytotoxic effect of hepatitis D virus hepatic cell death will surely occur and if the contact was made via a host will provoke a host-mediated immune response.

This type of illness will more commonly be found in adults then in children, the immune system taking its part in relinquishing all the liver cells into systemic order. People that have a history of intravenous drug use will be more prone to infection with hepatitis D virus but at the same time studies have shown us that persons that live by the Mediterranean basin will be potential victims as well, climate having a huge impact in developing bacteria and spreading it.

All around the world there are almost 15 million people that are right now infected with the hepatitis D virus and the areas that are with the highest prevalence include North Africa, southern Italy, the Amazon Basin, the Middle East, Hauru, the American South Pacific islands of Samoa and Hiue. Statistics have shown that a great prevalence to the hepatitis B virus is found in Japan, China, Myanmar ( known formerly as Burma) and Taiwan but in spite of this will have a very low rate for the infection cause by hepatitis D virus. Being simultaneous infected with the hepatitis B and D virus is known as a coinfection and at the same time will develop in fulminant liver failure within 1% from the patients. The most common outcome will be a complete clearance of the hepatitis B and D virus and a complete clinical recovery. In less the 6% of infected people with the hepatitis B and D virus chronic infection will occur so at the present numbers are on our sides. 

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