Food-Borne vs Blood-Borne Cases of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disease of the liver. There are many types of hepatitis; the most common being hepatitis A (HAV), B (HBV) and C (HCV).

Hepatitis A is most commonly the result of eating contaminated food. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are blood borne and passed from one person to another through bodily fluids. There are vaccinations available for hepatitis A and B.

The staff at IHTC will discuss vaccinations during your clinic visit and make recommendations if they are needed. With the introduction of recombinant products and advanced techniques to test and remove hepatitis B and C from the US blood supply, it is unlikely that anyone with hemophilia will develop hepatitis today from administering US-sourced factor product.

Although US-sourced factor product can be considered safe (as can product from other major industrialized nations), greater caution should be exercised in countries with more limited medical resources.

Prior to the 1990s, most patients with hemophilia who used clotting factor made from donated blood were infected with one or more types of hepatitis. Along with the risk of developing HIV from contaminated factor products, this was one of the worst large-scale tragedies to affect those with hemophilia.

Hepatitis C, if untreated, can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. In the past, treatment for hepatitis C was lengthy (up to a year) and had unpleasant side effects. Today, there are highly effective treatments (known as antivirals) to cure hepatitis C within 12 weeks.

At the IHTC, we can provide support and counseling related to hepatitis. IHTC also coordinates the care of those with hepatitis with a liver specialist also called a hepatologist.

Learn about HIV and hemophilia