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Viral hepatitis is one of the major health problems worldwide, particularly in countries where hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are highly endemic. Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is also not uncommon world-wide. HCV, HBV, and HDV share parallel routes of transmission due to which dual or triple viral infection can occur in a proportion of patients at the same time. HBV and HCV are important factors in the development of liver cirrhosis (LC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In addition to LC and HCC, chronic HDV infection also plays an important role in liver damage with oncogenic potential.
In a review in Virology Journal, Mehwish Riaz, of the National Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of the Punjab in Pakistan, and colleagues, examine the available literature about the epidemiology, pathogenesis, transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, replication, disease outcome, treatment and preventive measures of triple hepatitis infection by using key words; epidemiology of triple infection, risk factors, awareness status, treatment and replication cycle in PubMed, PakMediNet, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Google Scholar. Total data from 74 different studies published from 1983 to 2010 on triple hepatitis infections were reviewed and included in this study. The present article briefly describes triple infection with HCV, HBV and HDV.
The researchers point out some of the preventive measures to avoid development of triple infection:
1. Screening of donated blood and plasma
2. Routine immunization for infants and high-risk individuals
3. Practicing safe sex
4. Cleaning up blood spills promptly with bleach
5. Avoiding sharing razors, syringes, tooth brushes, nail clippers, or needles, when getting a manicure, a tattoo, or having any body part pierced
Reference: Riaz M, Idrees M, Kanwal H and Kabir F. An overview of Triple infection with Hepatitis B, C and D viruses. Virology Journal 2011, 8:368 doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-368