Hepatitis at 40x Magnification

The most widespread form of hepatitis in the world is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Fortunately, this form of the disease typically requires only bed rest in order for affected individuals to fully recover. Also, vaccines are available and injections of serum globulin derived from other individuals previously infected with hepatitis A can be used as a means of passive immunization to lessen the severity of symptoms in persons that were recently exposed to the virus. Hepatitis viruses B, C, and D, however, are much more serious occurrences that can develop into chronic illnesses and eventually lead to irreversible damage to the liver. Hepatitis C, the form of the disease most commonly associated with alcoholism, is a particularly virulent variety of the disease that may culminate in cirrhosis of the liver, especially among individuals who continue to drink following diagnosis.

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