A liver infection is an infection that indicates the invasion of foreign bodies and organisms into the organ. It can affect the proper functioning of the liver. A liver infection usually occurs to those individuals contracted with foreign objects or organisms. The liver is considered to be one of the most essential organs present in most vertebrates and other animals. This particular organ possesses a lot of important bodily functions. Its many functions involve the detoxification of blood, the construction of protein molecules through the process known as protein synthesis and the production of certain chemicals and enzymes that aid in the complete digestion of food. The most popular and important of these chemicals is bile, which degrades lipids. The liver is likewise associated with metabolism and the overall production of energy in the human body.
Symptoms of Liver Infection:
Liver infection symptoms are similar for various diseases of the liver. Some of the vital symptoms of an infection include the following;
Yellowing of the eyes or skin or jaundice
Abdominal pain especially ones involving the upper right area of your stomach,
Drastic weight Loss
Any change in the bowel movements such as a change in the color or consistency,
Loss of sex drive,
Prolonged fever and vomiting
Types of Liver Infection:
The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is found in the faeces of someone infected with the virus. It only takes a tiny amount of faeces getting inside another person’s mouth to cause hepatitis A infection. Hepatitis A can affect all age groups. Once a person is exposed to the virus it takes between 2 and 6 weeks to produce symptoms. It is possible to experience mild or no symptoms whatsoever, but even if this is the case the person’s faeces will still be infectious to others. Many people who become infected with HAV will have symptoms that include: a short, mild, flu-like illness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; loss of appetite; weight loss; jaundice (yellow skin and whites of eyes, darker yellow urine and pale faeces); itchy skin; abdominal pain. HAV is tested for using a blood test. A positive test result means the patient has either had a past infection or is currently infected. There is no specific treatment for HAV and most people fight off the virus naturally, returning to full health within a couple of months. Immunisation may also be recommended to prevent hepatitis A developing if a person suspects they have been exposed to the virus.
Hepatitis B is more likely to cause chronic long-term illness and permanent damage to the liver if not treated. It is most frequently passed on through the exchange of bodily fluids with an infected person. HBV can be spread by unprotected sex with someone who is infectious, by sharing contaminated needles or other drug-injecting equipment, by using non-sterilised equipment for tattooing, acupuncture or body piercing, from an infected mother to her baby, most commonly during delivery, through a blood transfusion in a country where blood is not screened for blood-borne viruses such as HBV. One may experienced mild symptoms. When symptoms do appear they are similar to those of hepatitis A and may include: a short, mild, flu-like illness; nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; loss of appetite; weight loss; jaundice (yellow skin and whites of eyes, darker yellow urine and pale faeces); itchy skin. Most adults infected with the hepatitis B virus fully recover and develop life-long immunity. Between 2% and 10% of individuals infected as adults will become chronic carriers, which mean they will be infectious to others and can develop chronic liver damage. Infected children, especially newborn babies, are much more likely to become chronic carriers. If a person lives with hepatitis B infection for a number of years then they may develop chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Antiviral medication is given as treatment to those with chronic symptoms to help prevent further liver damage. These medications may be injected or given in pill form. Examples are Interferon Alpha, Lamivudine and Baraclude. Treatment usually lasts 6 months, during which time the patient will be carefully monitored. Three immunisation injections are given over a period of 3-6 months. A blood test is taken once the course of injections is completed to check they have worked. Immunity should last for at least 5 years.
Hepatitis C like other forms of hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis C virus is transferred primarily through blood, and is more persistent than hepatitis A or B.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be spread by sharing drug-injecting equipment (needles, heating spoons, etc), through exposure to blood during unprotected sex with an infected person, Sexual transmission is an uncommon way of becoming infected with hepatitis C and rarely, from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. By sharing equipment used to snort cocaine. Usually this is a rolled banknote, which can become contaminated with blood from a person’s nose.
Many people do not have symptoms when they become infected with hepatitis C. Symptoms may emerge later, taking anywhere between 15 and 150 days to develop. An infected person without symptoms can still act as a carrier and pass the virus on to others. Symptoms may include a short, mild, flu-like illness; nausea and vomiting; diarrhoea; loss of appetite;weight loss; jaundice (yellow skin and whites of eyes, darker yellow urine and pale faeces) and itchy skin. If a person lives with hepatitis C infection for a number of years then they may develop chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. If symptoms become severe then a person with hepatitis C may be admitted to hospital for monitoring and treatment. Treatment combines the antiviral drugs interferon and ribavirin. A patient will also require regular check-ups to monitor their progress. It is important to remember that if HCV treatment is effective and the infection is cleared, this does not mean the patient has future immunity to hepatitis C.
Rarer Types of Liver Infection:
Hepatitis D, caused by the hepatitis D virus, is only present in people already infected with hepatitis B (it needs the presence of the hepatitis B virus to be able to survive in your body).
Hepatitis E, caused by the hepatitis E virus, is very rare and is generally a mild and acute infection. It is caught by putting something in your mouth that has been contaminated with the faeces of someone with hepatitis E. Person-to-person transmission is rare.
Autoimmune hepatitis is a very rare cause of chronic (long-term) hepatitis. The white blood cells attack the liver, causing chronic inflammation and damage. This can lead to more serious problems, such as liver failure. The reason for this reaction is unknown. Symptoms include tiredness, pains in your abdomen, joint aches, jaundice (yellow tinge to your skin and whites of your eyes) and cirrhosis. Treatment for autoimmune hepatitis involves medicines that help to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Acute and Chronic Liver Fluke Infection
Liver fluke is a parasitic infection that has two distinct phases: the acute phase and the chronic phase. An acute liver fluke infection occurs when the parasites travel through your body and into your liver, where they mature. Once that's happened, you'll experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, an enlarged liver, red skin hives and a high concentration of eosinophils in your bloodstream. These symptoms can last for months, even with treatment. The disease reaches the chronic phase when the adult fluke infects your bile ducts. At this point, many patients are asymptomatic, though you may experience warning signs similar to those seen with acute infection, depending on the specific type of fluke. You put yourself at risk for contracting liver fluke by eating undercooked or raw fish or animals or plants that live in fluke-infested waters.
Causes of Liver Infection:
There are a variety of probable causative agents for a liver infection. Each of these agents has its own set of mechanisms for invading the host thus each one is typically associated with a unique array of symptoms. However, some types of liver infection present similar manifestations or symptoms.
Tests and Diagnosis of Liver Infection:
Liver disease is diagnosed using a number of tests, including:
Physical Examination – the liver may be enlarged.
Medical History – including medications and lifestyle factors such as diet and alcohol consumption, exposure to hepatitis viral infections, blood transfusions, tattoos or family history of liver disease.
Blood Tests – to check the levels of liver enzymes and jaundice (‘yellowness’) and to assess the protein production capability of the liver).
Ultrasound Scan of the Abdomen (‘belly’) – a three-dimensional ‘x-ray’ using sound waves. This is used to look at the liver and other organs, including check their size and shape, check the liver for abnormal lumps and assess fluid accumulation.
Other Scans – including computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Biopsy – a small piece of liver tissue is removed and examined under the microscope in a laboratory.
Liver Infection Treatment:
Understanding the infection thoroughly is one of the important steps prior to the treatment of liver infection. Here are some common ways on how to treat the infection.
There are liver supplements available in the market that could help the body revitalize and repair the damage brought about by the liver infection. If the causative agent of a liver infection is diagnosed to be bacterial in origin, some doctors may prescribe the intake of antibiotics. However, the administration of antibiotics is avoided for this could actually bring about a lot of deteriorating effects to the organs of the body.
Some types of Liver infection, such as acute viral forms like hepatitis A and sometimes hepatitis B are self-limited diseases which means that your body's immune system will eventually be able to destroy the viruses that caused the disease. Medicine is rarely necessary to treat self-limited types of hepatitis, except for supportive therapies like controlling nausea or aches and pains. However, many people rest and give their bodies the necessary time to fight the illness. Self-limited diseases usually will not progress to chronic problems, so after a few weeks, you will feel better and be able to go back to normal activities.
Despite the fact that most liver infections have no specific treatment, the affected person should be encouraged to take in a lot of calories in order to replenish the energy used in battling the infection. The patient should likewise avoid drinking alcohol in order for the liver to recuperate and fix damaged cells.
Interferon: Interferon is a protein made by the body's immune system that combats viruses. Its anti-viral properties make it a powerful weapon against viral hepatitis B and C. Drug scientists have studied this protein and developed a synthetic form that is also called interferon, but is sold under different names like Intron, Roferonand Infergen. Synthetic interferon works similar to the natural proteins and doctors use this powerful therapy to help control the levels of hepatitis virus in the body. Unfortunately, this treatment is expensive and has significant side effects.
A liver infection, which is linked with a viral causative agent, would almost always require further medication that could eradicate and get rid of the invading virus inside the body of the affected person. Doctors often combine different antiviral drugs to better combat the virus. For example, interferon treatment may often be combined with other antiviral drugs like Lamivudine in the case of hepatitis B infection or Ribavirin for people with hepatitis C infection. The drug combinations have a stronger therapeutic effect than a singular drug on its own. Similar to interferon, the side effects can be severe. However, the costs of this combination therapy are relatively reasonable.
Specific medications to manage Wilson’s disease.
Liver Transplantation : Sometimes hepatitis has developed into such a serious disease that a liver transplant is the only treatment left. This is a complex surgical procedure that involves replacing a failing liver with a donor liver. Thousands of these operations are done every year but because there are many risks involved, it is a treatment of last resort.
Benefits of Liver Infection Treatment:
Treatment of liver infection can clear you of the virus and help the patient avoid more liver damage.
Getting the proper treatment is important because the faster your hepatitis is under control, the better your liver will be.
Treatment also allows the patient to have a healthier life, free of the virus and the worry it causes.
Proper treatment helps the patient improve his overall well-being and quality of life and reduce his chances of getting liver cancer and other serious diseases.
The benefit of treatment was seen when assessing the proportion of patients with a sustained loss of the hepatitis C virus from the blood and the proportion with improved liver biopsies.
Liver Infection Treatment in India:
India has a worldwide reputation for expertise in diagnosing and treating liver infection and disease. Each year liver specialists (hepatologists) treat thousands of people for liver disease and perform many liver transplants in India. Indian hospitals provide easy access to advanced treatment for liver infection. Doctors from hepatology, radiology, pathology, genetics, surgery and other areas, all with special training and experience in liver diseases, work together. Indian hospitals and doctors have made important advances in treating liver disease which ensures that the latest liver disease treatment and digestive disorders are provided to each patient.
Cities in India offering Liver Infection Treatment at some of the top and best hospitals are as follows;
Cost of Liver Infection Treatment in India: India is attracting an influx of medical tourists from different parts of the world for critical treatment like liver infection. Over a Million people every year take medical tour to India for the low cost medical procedures it offers, which are 50 to 70 percent lower in comparison to healthcare costs in their home countries. People are attracted towards the best quality of healthcare services, accredited medical facilities, and internationally trained and qualified health care professionals and travel to India for their health care needs.
Some of the common countries from which patients travel to India for surgery are: