You need to take extreme precautions when dealing with hepatitis for your newborn. Dr Shreya Dubey, consultant, Neonatology and Paediatrics, CK Birla Hospital for Women talks about the types of hepatitis common in babies.
Types of Hepatitis
Hepatitis A virus -HAV is the most common type of hepatitis in children. It is usually transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. Infections are in many cases mild, with most people making a full recovery and remaining immune from further HAV infections. Most children of age 6 years and younger do not have any symptoms. This means that your child could have the disease, and you may not know it. This can make it easy to spread the disease among young children. Most people in areas of the world with poor sanitation have been infected with this virus. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HAV.
Hepatitis B virus- In most children the virus multiplies slowly and persists in the body, causing slow but progressive liver damage. This state is known as the chronic carrier state; his or her liver and blood have no signs of disease. A chronic carrier can still pass the disease on to others, even if they have no symptoms. Most children who acquire the infection at birth or soon after become chronic carriers. The virus is commonly commuted through exposure to infected semen, infected blood and other body fluids. This virus can also be passed on from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth. It is important for children to receive hepatitis B vaccinations. This consists of three injections over a six-month period. Protection is not complete without all three injections. If you are diagnosed with the virus during pregnancy you should be sure that your baby gets a shot called H-B-I-G and the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth. Your baby should get the second dose at one to two months and the third shot at six months.
Hepatitis C virus –HCV Most kids get it when they’re newborns. If your child wasn’t born with hepatitis C but got the illness in the later years, it was likely transmitted through direct contact of HCV -infected blood, septic injections during medical procedures or through injection of illicit drug. There is no vaccine for HCV at present. Hepatitis C usually goes away without treatment and appropriate diet.
Hepatitis D virus -HDV infections pass off only in those who are infected with HBV. A mother who is infected with hepatitis D virus can pass the infection to her newborn during birth. The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in knockout disease with a dangerous outcome. Hepatitis D can be prevented, in most cases, by ensuring your child receives the hepatitis B vaccine.
Hepatitis E virus -HEV vertical transmission from a pregnant woman to her baby is possible. The virus in kids can be transmitted through the intake of contaminated water or food as well. HEV is a common cause of hepatitis occurrence in underdeveloped parts of the world. It is important to always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing and eating food. Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation help prevent the spread of hepatitis E.There is no vaccine to prevent transmission.