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Hepatitis A



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Chapter 3 : Hepatitis A

Topics covered in this snack-sized chapter:



Hepatitis A arrow_upward


  • Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.
  • It is spread by fecal-oral (or stool to mouth) transmission when a person ingests food or drink contaminated by an infected person's stool.
  • The disease is closely associated with poor sanitation and a lack of personal hygiene habits, such as hand-washing.
  • Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A infection does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause debilitating symptoms.

  • Symptoms arrow_upward


  • For a person with viral hepatitis, signs and symptoms (especially early symptoms) may include one or several of the following:
    • Fatigue
    • Excessive tiredness
    • Lack of appetite
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • A low-grade fever
    • Muscle pain
    • Joint pain
    • Sore throat
    • Mild abdominal pain (stomach pain)
    • Dark urine
    • Light-colored stool

    Causes arrow_upward


  • People most likely to get hepatitis A due to following reasons:
    • International travelers, particularly those traveling to developing countries
    • People who live with or have sex with an infected person
    • People living in areas where children are not routinely vaccinated against hepatitis A, where outbreaks are more likely
    • Day care children and employees, during outbreaks
    • Men who have sex with men
    • Users of illicit drugs

    Transmission arrow_upward


  • HAV is usually spread from person to person when an uninfected person ingests food or beverages that have been contaminated with the stool of a person with the virus.
  • Bloodborne transmission of HAV occurs, but is much less common.
  • Waterborne outbreaks, though infrequent, are usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water.
  • Casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

  • Prevention arrow_upward


  • The most effective means of preventing viral hepatitis is to avoid contact with the blood, saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions of infected individuals.
  • People who have acute or chronic viral hepatitis should:
    • Avoid sharing items that could infect others, such as razors or toothbrushes.
    • Protect sex partners from exposure to their semen, vaginal fluids, or blood. Properly used condoms may be effective in preventing sexual transmission.

    Treatment arrow_upward


  • There is no specific therapy for acute hepatitis A infection. Therefore, prevention is the key.
  • An effective vaccine is available and recommended for anyone with liver disease.
  • It is also recommended for people planning to travel to areas of the world where sanitation may be less than optimal.
  • Before receiving the vaccine, the patient usually will have a blood test to check whether antibody to the virus is present already, in that case vaccination is unnecessary.


  • Thank You from Kimavi arrow_upward


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