Viral hepatitis in the 1990s, part III: hepatitis C, hepatitis E, and other viruses

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Acute hepatitis can be caused by a number of viruses, especially A, B, C, E, delta, Epstein-Barr virus, and cytomegalovirus. Hepatitis A and B have been discussed previously in this series. The virus responsible for most cases of what commonly has been referred to as non-A non-B hepatitis has been tracked, and antibodies to certain proteins of this virus have been identified. This virus is now referred to as hepatitis C. The possible clinical outcomes after acute hepatitis C virus infection are similar to those for hepatitis B virus infection, except that hepatitis C is far more likely to become chronic. Clinical testing for hepatitis C virus infection is in its infancy and has certain limitations. Successful treatment of at least some cases of hepatitis C is possible. Hepatitis E has recently been described, primarily in third-world countries. It causes an acute hepatitis that may be particularly lethal for pregnant women. Herpesviruses may also cause hepatitis, particularly in the newborn or the im-munocompromised. Exotic viruses causing acute hepatitis are enumerated.



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