Pathophysiology: Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory disease which is mainly affects liver. Viral hepatitis is classified as A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis viruses cause liver damage. Inflammation happens throughout liver and hepatocytes are destroyed by cytotoxic cytokines and natural killer cells. Cellular necrosis occur but liver usually able to repair itself and regain complete function if no other complications occur. There are three phases: Prodromal phase, Icteric phase and Recovery phase.
Disease Statistics: In particular, chronic infection with HBV or HCV is a major public health problem throughout Europe. The majority of persons chronically infected (65%–75%) are not aware of their infection status until symptoms of advanced liver disease appear.
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: The major study groups in in Switerzerland are Swiss Experts in Viral Hepatitis (SEVHep), Berne and Division of Communicable Diseases, Berne.