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What is Hepatitis F?

M.R. Anglin
M.R. Anglin

Hepatitis F is the name that had been given to a form of viral hepatitis that seemed to be unexplained by the viruses that cause hepatitis A-G. It has been debated whether this form of hepatitis is caused by a separate virus or by a variant of one of the other hepatitis viruses. For instance, some professionals believe it may be a variation of the hepatitis B virus. Whatever the cause, many forms of hepatitis can be dangerous. It is important, then, for a person to take steps to reduce his risk of contracting the disease.

The inflammation of the liver, no matter the cause, is often called hepatitis. The disease can be caused by a virus, a drug, or another cause. Whatever the source, hepatitis can be dangerous because the liver is vital to human survival. Among other functions, it filters out toxins that could cause health problems were they not removed from the body. Some symptoms of hepatitis can include jaundice, fever, and pain in the abdomen.


There has been a debate as to whether a hepatitis F virus exists. Reports of a form of hepatitis not caused by the other hepatitis viruses first emerged from India in 1983. Subsequent reports came from France, England, and Italy. Upon further study, scientists found that that the illnesses in question were likely caused by a DNA virus.

Some professionals believe that hepatitis F may not by caused by a separate virus, but rather, they believe it might be a mutation of the hepatitis B virus. If this is the case, the risk factors for hepatitis F and how it is transmitted may be the same. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through contact with blood and other bodily fluids. Common ways people contract this virus are through unprotected sex, contaminated needles and, during childbirth, to a newborn from his infected mother.

While hepatitis F may not be caused by a separate hepatitis virus, steps should be taken to avoid any form of the disease. Liver cancer or cirrhosis may result from chronic hepatitis. Vaccines are available to help protect a person from some variants of the disease. A person may also help reduce his risk for viral hepatitis by practicing responsible sexual behaviors and by refraining from using illegal drugs. Since some forms of hepatitis are spread through human feces, it may be wise to avoid drinking tap water when visiting a country that does not have proper sanitary practices.

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