Delta agent is a type of virus called hepatitis D. It causes symptoms only in people who also have a
Hepatitis D virus
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is found only in people who carry the hepatitis B virus. HDV may make a recent (acute) hepatitis B infection or an existing long-term (chronic)
Hepatitis D infects about 15 million people worldwide. It occurs in a small number of people who carry hepatitis B.
Risk factors include:
Abusing intravenous (IV) or injection drugs
Being infected while pregnant (the mother can pass the virus to the baby)
Carrying the hepatitis B virus
- Men having sexual intercourse with other men
Receiving many blood transfusions
Hepatitis D may make the symptoms of hepatitis B worse.
Symptoms may include:
Loss of appetite
Signs and tests
Anti-delta agent antibody Liver biopsy
- Liver enzymes (blood test)
Many of the medicines used to treat hepatitis B are not helpful for treating hepatitis D. See
You may receive a medicine called alpha interferon for up to 12 months if you have a long-term HDV infection. A liver transplant for end-stage chronic hepatitis B may be effective.
Persons with an
About 10% of those who are infected may develop long-term (chronic) liver inflammation (hepatitis).
- Chronic active hepatitis
- Fulminant hepatitis
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of hepatitis B.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B infection can help prevent hepatitis D.
Avoid intravenous drug abuse. If you use IV drugs, avoid sharing needles.
A vaccine is available to prevent hepatitis B. Adults who are at high risk for hepatitis B infection, and all children should get this vaccine.