Pathophysiology: Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory disease which is fairly common and mainly affects the liver. Viral hepatitis is classified as A, B, C, D, E and G. All types of hepatitis viruses cause similar kind of liver damage. Inflammation happens throughout whole liver and hepatocytes are destroyed by cytotoxic cytokines and natural killer cells being part of inflammatory process. Cellular necrosis takes place but liver usually able to repair itself and regain complete function if no other complications occur.
Disease Statistics: Hepatitis C is notifiable diasease in Ireland from 2004 with high number of cases being observed every year. Hepatitis A incidences have been low with 56 cases notified in 2005.
Treatment: Intravenous rehydration is given as supportive care but no specific emergency treatment is recommended as such. Patients are admitted in conditions of severe complications. Evaluation for hepatic encephalopathy is done. Certain patients may benefit from pharmacologic therapy. Patients are advised to avoid prolonged or vigorous physical exertion until their symptoms improve and maintain adequate hydration.
Research: Major research has been done in treatment of Hepatitis B and C in Ireland. Departments of Public Health and several laboratories involved in the studies. NVRL is among the primary organizations in country to describe study of strain C.