What is hepatitis delta?
- Hepatitis D virus (HDV), also known as hepatitis delta virus, is an infection that causes inflammation of the liver. If left untreated, HDV can lead to long term liver disease such as liver cirrhosis and cancer.
- HDV is known as a “satellite virus” because it can only infect people who are also infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). The infection can be acquired at the same time as HBV (coinfection) or as a superinfection in people who are already chronically infected with HBV. Superinfection of HDV is one of the most severe forms of viral hepatitis; it accelerates progression to severe hepatitis in 70-90% of people.
- The number of hepatitis D cases in the United States is estimated to be more than 125,000; globally, it is estimated that HDV affects between 12 and 60 million people.