In 1956, New York paediatrician Professor Saul Krugman investigated a problem at the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, home to 4000 intellectually disabled children, where hepatitis was rife. By the mid-1960s – following controversial experiments which involved both feeding and injecting infected blood into the children – Krugman had discovered two types of hepatitis, subsequently named hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The causative agents are hepatitis A virus (HAV), spread by the faecal-oral route, and hepatitis B virus (HBV) spread by blood and intimate contact that allows the exchange of body fluids.
Today the viral hepatitis alphabet comprises HAV, HBV, hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis D (HDV), hepatitis E (HEV) and hepatitis G (HGV).
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