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Health

Hepatitis D

What is hepatitis D?

The hepatitis D virus (HDV) is an RNA virus discovered in 1977 that is structurally unrelated to the hepatitis A, B or C virus. HDV causes a unique infection that requires the assistance of viral particles from hepatitis B virus (HBV) to replicate and infect other hepatocytes. Its clinical course is varied and ranges from acute self-limited infection to acute fulminant liver failure. Chronic liver infection can lead to end-stage liver disease and associated complications. HDV infection occurs more commonly among adults than children. It is observed more commonly among patients with a history of intravenous drug use and in persons from the Mediterranean basin.

Symptoms

Diagnosis

  • Blood tests for virus and liver function

Treatment

Treatment consists primarily of support. Liver transplantation is indicated in patients with fulminant liver failure.

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