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Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D

What is hepatitis D?

Hepatitis D is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus, which can be both acute and chronic. The hepatitis D virus requires the hepatitis B virus for its replication, and only affects people who already have hepatitis B. Hepatitis B/Hepatitis D co-infection is considered the most serious form of chronic viral hepatitis due to more rapid progress towards liver cancer and liver-related death.

How is hepatitis D transmitted?

Hepatitis D is transmitted through contact with blood or other body fluids.

Preventing hepatitis D

As hepatitis D only affects people already living with hepatitis B, people not already infected with hepatitis B should get the hepatitis B vaccination. Babies should be given the hepatitis B birth dose vaccine as soon as possible after birth.

You can also reduce exposure by avoiding sharing needles and other items such as toothbrushes, razors or nail scissors, or getting tattoos or body piercings from unlicensed facilities.

People living with chronic hepatitis B infection should be regularly monitored for hepatitis D coinfection, also known as superinfection.

Treating hepatitis D

WHO guidelines generally recommend Pegylated interferon alpha for at least 48 weeks, however treatment is often not very effective.

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