Hepatitis: the disease and the vaccination

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Hepatitis: the disease and the vaccination

Postby maria » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:31 pm

I am torn in the classic dilemma: deal with the possible effects of disease or (much more likely but also less damaging) possible side effects of vaccination.

Information on the internet tends to paint the disease as something you are likely to contract next time you kiss someone hello; and side effects are barely mentioned.

Does anyone have any straight-forward info on how common are Hep A and B exactly; where are they more common, and what is the effectiveness of vaccination? What are the side effects?
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Postby odile » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:20 am

Maria,

all of the specifics escape me at the moment (my memory's a bit fuzzy) but I was required to be vaccinated against hep b & c when i worked at a women's reproductive health clinic. It's a battery of shot (3 of them, broken up) and I did not have any noticeable side effects.

At one point hep vacc wasn't standard procedure. At the time I got them, I was told they were only administered to persons working in high risk environments; since then I've heard people say they've had them upon request from their physician. Never heard of any side effects, except the ouch at the needles.

The fact that the vacc wasn't standard procedure suggests, to me at least, that maybe we ought not worry too much about it unless we're in a "high risk" environment (where the shots will be administered as a matter of law.) But that's just my opinion
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Postby sapphire kate » Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:10 am

Yeah, why are you considering vaccination or not, Maria?

Here's the data sheet on one of the Hep B vaccines used in NZ. It's got the therapeutic indications, contraindications, interactions, and side effects. You can find the data sheets for any other vaccines on that site too, although ideally you should look for the data sheets of the vaccine used in your country.

http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Profs/Datash ... x-Binj.htm
It's all good (except for the crappy bits).
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Postby Judy L » Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:14 am

Maria,

Do you work in high risk environment for Hep? Is it required by an
employer?

What is your general state of health?


I had hepatitis way back when. At the time, the doctors said there was nothing they could do. It just needed to run its course. Which it did.
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Postby RosaSilvestre » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:02 pm

Odile, to my knowledge there isn't a hep C vaccine. I'd be interested in knowing if there's new info on that.

Judy, what kind of hepatitis? Viral or otherwise?

Oh, and the vaccine for Hep B has been known to trigger latent Epstein Barr in some cases. Could be any vaccine would do that with the added pressure to the immune system.
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Postby Judy L » Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:35 pm

You know RS, I am not sure. It was a blur. I contracted hep 2 weeks into having mono and was out of it w/ a high fever for a month. I do remember getting out of bed, looking in the mirror and screaming b/c I was jaundice. My doctor at the time said it was common to develop hep in that way due to being completely bedridden. I was so sick from the mono I really don't remember the hep at all.
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Postby odile » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:52 pm

RosaSilvestre wrote:Odile, to my knowledge there isn't a hep C vaccine. I'd be interested in knowing if there's new info on that.


rosasilvestre,

i work at another place with a woman i worked with at that clinc; after reading your post i asked her what she was vacc. against--she was same as me. She still works there and is going to see what she can do to pull our files. We are guessing that since we all got our shots from whatever person was in training at the time, we were misinformed. What you say is true, and my friend and I blush at the fact that it did not register for us.

Sorry to get off topic, I just found the whole thing pretty disconcerting.
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Postby RosaSilvestre » Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:14 pm

Judy, I believe that's considered an auto-immune form of hepatitis sometimes associated with Epstein-Barr (and thus mono). Glad it cleared up so well for you, it doesn't always.

Odile, it's definitely a good idea to know you've been injected with, but no need to blush. It's easy to lose track :D
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Postby Judy L » Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:44 pm

Interesting RS. I do remember being given a letter for the type of Hep I had altho can't recall. I was told that I am not able to donate blood or organs b/c of the Hep and that I suffered some liver damage at the time.

All very curious.
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Postby RosaSilvestre » Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:53 pm

Oh ok, so it is viral rather than auto-immune. Odd that it happened at the same time... Or maybe the mono just kicked the hep into full gear.

The various forms of Hep are curious indeed, from viral to solvent induced to auto-immune. I rather think they could have more particular and accurate descriptions.
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Postby sapphire kate » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:57 pm

So are the ones with letters viral ones?

Does hepatitis mean simply inflammation of the liver, so it's a symptom description rather than a specific disease diagnosis? But once you get a letter put with it, or other descriptors it then becomes a disease diagnosis?
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Postby coyotemist » Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:04 am

OK, I just finished microbiology in school. Currently there are several hepatitus viruses that have been found, out to letter G, I believe. Vaccines only exist for A and B. Those vaccines are routinely given to children, and adults who work in the healthcare field (a bad meal at a restaurant or a needle stick could cause one or the other).

Then once you know you have hepatitus "whatever letter" there are separate types genotypes and serotypes. One of the hepatitus viruses can live outside the body for a long time. Hep B can be very mild, similar to a bad flu episode, so you might never know you have it.

My kids have had both vaccines, and I've had the whole round of the Bs due to my work. None of us have had any side effects from these particular vaccines, although on the vaccine spectrum the DTAP and MMR seem to be the worst for reactions, in my experience.

SK-Yes, hepatitis is really just a work that means, as you said, "inflammation of the liver" so it makes sense to to me that a person could have hepatitis from auto-immune problems (lupus being one immediatly brought to mind), or other viral problems. My husband has had a couple episodes of cholangitis, a blockage of his duct around his ampulla (near the pancreas), but the symptoms are the same, pain, incterus (jaundice), tiredness, etc.

One last thing of note is that hepatitis is one virus that mutates quite quickly and frequently. This is one reason why there isn't a vaccine against Hep C, yet. Two of my friends have hep c, one is terminal, I'm sure she would rather have had a shot than be dying now.

Like any vaccine, one should research, and weigh the pros and cons before getting the vaccine.
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Postby sapphire kate » Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:36 am

Thanks coyotemist.

Is it possible that some of the hep viruses are mutating in response to the vaccines, hence the increasing alphabet?
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Postby coyotemist » Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:41 am

SK, thats certainly an interesting thought, and probably not one the healthcare field is going to jump on right away! KWIM? ;) Prior to the early 90's it was recognized that there was Hep A, Hep B, and Non-A Non-B Hepaitis, they didn't know what else to call it. Then around 1992 they found the C virus. I don't think we'll ever definitively know, as they didn't have the technology back then to find the stuff they find now (DNA and RNA, etc).

According to the CDC, Hep D can ONLY be found in the same blood as someone with Hep B. So if you've been vaccinated, and you have an immunity, I'm assuming you have neither in your blood, just the antibodies. But if you contract B, then you can have both.

If I understand Hep G correctly, it transferred over from tamarin monkeys, and isn't often found in the US. It also tends to coexist with other types of hepatitis.

Hep F doesn't exist to some people, others say it coexists with B.

In 10-15% of all hepatitis cases, they can't find a virus to blame it on.

Hep E is most often found in Asia, Africa, and Mexico where water is contaminated.
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Postby RosaSilvestre » Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:29 pm

It's my understanding that the Hep C virus is so complex and varied, even barring mutation it would be nearly impossible to vaccinate against. Stephen Buhner describes RNA viruses such as Hep C to be like a swarm of bees, so there's not just one bug but MANY.

Hep C can live outside the body at room temp for up to 72 hours I believe. Seeing as it's blood transmitted, it would be hard to get it from anything but a sharp object. Blood transfusions (back in the day) and dirty needles are the most common ways of contracting it I think.

I find it very interesting that many viruses and perhaps esp Hep C can have absolutely no discernible negative effect in one person's body and wreak havoc in another's. And so I always focus on helping the individual's body adapt rather than destroying the virus.

My partner has Hep C, and has had it for something like 35 years, he'd had it nearly 30 years before he had any symptoms and then he just had annoying joint pain. After interferon, it's a different and far messier story (a shame they don't tell you about long term side effects when they prep you for treatment, eh?).

I've worked with several cases of Hep C now and a couple cases of B as well as a lot of chronic hep brought on my solvent abuse.

The great thing about almost all of these varying liver ailments is that they respond quite well to treatment, especially diet and herbal and stress/anger reduction. I've seen cases go from near cirrhosis to nearly symptom free. I've been amazed in the last couple years to see how much simply helping the person to view the virus as an ally to wholeness has helped the immune system chill, the virus back off and symptoms recede.

A hep c vaccine for people in the healthcare field would be most helpful I'm sure, not something one really wants as an occupational hazard. It does seem unlikely though. I read something about a year ago that talked about how researchers were befuddled by their inability to reliably transfer the virus via blood from one monkey to the next. Curiouser and curiouser.

Ok, that's really off-topic from vaccinations but liver stuff is one of my specialties :D
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