One factor linked to the appearance of hepatitis is the torque teno virus. This can be passed on during a blood transfusion thereby giving its alternative name of transfusion transmitted virus. However, the details of the virus and the link to blood transfusion and to the hepatitis liver disease are all still rather sketchy. Certainly a lot of people who undergo a blood transfusion also have the TTV. But there are other routes of transmission that may also be possible.
It is an alarming statistic that in some countries 100% of those who are available to give blood are also carriers of the torque teno virus. Those in the USA and UK and can be infected up to a level as high as 10%. The torque teno virus doesn’t appear to cause any symptoms of its own. The problem is that many people who have TTV have also been diagnosed with hepatitis. So it is possible that the virus is leading to many cases of hepatitis that could be avoided.
Hepatitis is a potentially deadly disease, which sees an inflammation of liver tissue that can lead to scarring and cirrhosis. There are several symptoms to look out for. This includes the yellowing of tissues known as jaundice. There could also be a loss of appetite and anorexia present. There is also the possibility that nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and fever will all appear as well.
The torque teno virus was only discovered in 1997, so there is still much to learn about it. One significant problem is that blood transfusion may not be the only route of transmission of the virus between human beings. Biological samples taken from patients with the virus such as saliva, faeces, and plasma have shown signs of the virus being present. So it may be that contact with this kind of material could also prove to be a route of transmission, thus complicating matters.
There is still other research to be done on the torque teno virus as well. It is by no means clear what the role of the torque teno virus is in causing hepatitis. It may be causing the disease directly or it may be making it easier for some other agent to cause the condition. With this low level of knowledge about the nature of the torque teno virus it is also means that a lot more research will be needed to generate an effective anti-viral drug against it.