Prevention and Treatment

No vaccine is available for preventing hepatitis C although new methods for producing viral proteins have raised hopes for vaccine development. Vaccination against hepatitis A and B is recommended to help avoid dual infections that might severely damage the liver. Avoidance of alcoholic beverages is recommended because of the toxic effect of alcohol on the already damaged liver. There is no satisfactory treatment for the chronic disease, although 30% to 50% of individuals are helped by interferon injections combined with ribavirin, an antiviral nucleoside derivative. Prolonged interferon treatment of the acute illness may prevent the chronic disease. ■ ribavirin, p. 526

Besides HAV, HBV, and HCV, hepatitis can be caused by several other hepatitis viruses, and can also occur as part of viral diseases such as yellow fever and infectious mononucleosis. Table 24.12 compares the known hepatitis viruses, A, B, C, D, E, and G.

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