World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is July 28 and we want to help raise awareness for these diseases. They are a group of infectious diseases that affect the liver, known as hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.  

At Charlton Health we have a great team that specializes in hepatology and offer fibroscans for their patients. Fibroscan machines are special ultrasound machines that are used to scan your liver. The machine is looking for liver scarring or otherwise known as fibrosis. This information, along with blood tests, will give the doctor more information about a person’s liver disease.  

The different types of hepatitis have different ways of transmission. They also vary as some are short-term infections while others are long-term infections. The best way to protect your health is to prevent infection, the best ways to prevent the different hepatitis infections are listed in the table below. 

Hepatitis A Get vaccinated  
Hepatitis B Get vaccinated  
Hepatitis C There is no vaccination for hepatitis C, so the best way to prevent infection is to avoid spreading it. Spread is caused by being in contact with infected blood and ways to prevent the spread include: Wearing gloves and personal protective equipment when you may be in contact with blood  Not sharing needles  Ensuring tattoo parlors, nail salons, spas, and more are practicing safe cleaning procedures Not sharing toothbrushes Getting tested if you may have had exposure to hepatitis C is important because there are now very effective treatments that are taken for 8-12 weeks that can lead to cure. If you get treated sooner, you are much more likely to prevent permanent liver damage. Charlton Health is pleased to provide Hepatitis C treatments.  
Hepatitis D Although there is no vaccination for hepatitis D, only people with hepatitis B can get hepatitis D. Therefore, the best way to prevent hepatitis D is to get your hepatitis B vaccines.   
Hepatitis E There is no vaccination for hepatitis E. Hepatitis E is spread by someone unknowingly ingesting the virus, which is found in the stool of those infected. Most commonly, hepatitis E is contracted through contaminated drinking water. However, in developed countries, this is uncommon. There have been reports of people contracting hepatitis E through raw pork, boar, and shellfish, hence ensuring meats are properly cooked is one way to prevent hepatitis E. However, the best way to prevent hepatitis E is through proper water sanitation. For countries and areas without proper water sanitation, it is important to: Not drink unpurified water Be aware of dirty water warnings and boil water advisories  

For further information about the details of hepatitis and prevention, visit the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website.

Marija Ilic is a Pharmacy Student from the University of Waterloo currently doing a rotation at Charlton Health as part of her final year of studies. Through Marija’s education, she has gained experience in both hospital and community pharmacy settings and hopes to find a specialized pharmacy role when she graduates. 

Jennifer Heipel has approximately 15 years of experience working as a hepatology nurse/clinical research coordinator for several gastroenterologists, hepatologists, infectious diseases and addiction specialists. She is trained in the treatment of Hepatitis B and C therapies as well as general hepatology and pre/post liver transplant follow up. Jennifer serves as Charlton Health’s full-time Hepatology Nurse and manages the Hepatology Program. She has worked and continues to work with Dr. Puglia at McMaster University and other area Gastroenterologists to develop a comprehensive, in-house Hepatology program and Hepatitis C program here at Charlton Health.

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