There is a vaccine against hepatitis A and hepatitis B, but there is no vaccine against hepatitis C. Screening for HBV and HCV is recommended for certain at-risk individuals.

What treatment is there for viral hepatitis?

  • Hepatitis A: no treatment

Hepatitis A is a disease from which people can recover spontaneously and from which we acquire immunity. For most healthy people, the body eliminates HAV without medical treatment and the virus does not cause any severe illness. Deaths linked to HAV are rare.

  • Hepatitis B: antiviral treatment 

As with HAV, most healthy adults can rid their bodies of HBV without medicine (MSMGF). But those who cannot fight the virus themselves, 5 to 10% of adults develop chronic hepatitis that can lead to severe liver problems if it is not treated with antivirals.

  • Hepatitis C: antiviral treatment

Contrary to HBV, a large proportion of people infected by HCV (70 to 80%) develop chronic hepatitis with the risk of complications (cirrhosis or liver cancer). 
The antiviral treatment makes it possible to slow down the cirrhosis and reduce liver cancer. In the event of cirrhosis, a liver transplant can be carried out.

In conjunction with the Laboratoire Clinique de Saint-Luc (Saint Luc Clinical Laboratory) — UCL Brussels, Sciensano hosts the National Reference Centre for the hepatitis B, C, D, and E viruses, which analyses the viral strains of hepatitis. Sciensano also carries out epidemiological surveillance of the different types of viral hepatitis in Belgium and monitors the quality of the vaccines.

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