Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Hepatitis is a term that describes a number of conditions, syndromes, or diseases leading to inflammation of the liver. The incidence of specific types of hepatitis is endemic in some countries, epidemic in others, and on the rise in still other locales. Hepatitis appears in different guises; it may mimic influenza, it may present only as an acute disease, or it may become chronic in nature and in some cases fatal. There are a variety of causes of hepatitis, including parasites, bacteria, viruses, alcohol ingestion, poisonous mushroom ingestion, overdose of certain medications, and autoimmune response. Students and professionals working in public health should understand the complexities of this condition so that whenever possible it can be diagnosed promptly, necessary treatment initiated, epidemics thwarted, and preventive methods instituted whenever possible. The major types of hepatitis are known by the name of the viruses that cause each specific type of hepatitis: A, ...