Liver Disease Hepatitis A

2017-07-18 11:48:43 0 By: Kunal Times Read: 70
Liver Disease Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.     

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is primarily spread when an uninfected (and unvaccinated) person ingests food or water that is contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. The disease is closely associated with unsafe water or food, inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene.

Symptoms

The incubation period of hepatitis A is usually 14–28 days.

Symptoms of hepatitis A range from mild to severe, and can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-coloured urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Not everyone who is infected will have all of the symptoms.

Adults have signs and symptoms of illness more often than children. The severity of disease and fatal outcomes are higher in older age groups. Infected children under 6 years of age do not usually experience noticeable symptoms, and only 10% develop jaundice. Among older children and adults, infection usually causes more severe symptoms, with jaundice occurring in more than 70% of cases. Hepatitis A sometimes relapses. The person who just recovered falls sick again with another acute episode. 

Who is at risk?

·         Poor sanitation

·         Use of recreational drugs

·         Lack of safe water

·         Being a sexual partner of someone with acute hepatitis A infection

·         Living in a household with an infected person

·         Travelling to areas of high endemicity without being immunized.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Recovery from symptoms following infection may be slow and may take several weeks or months. Most important is the avoidance of unnecessary medications. Acetaminophen / Paracetamol and medication against vomiting should not be given.

Hospitalization is unnecessary in the absence of acute liver failure. Therapy is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhoea.

Prevention

Improved sanitation, food safety and immunization are the most effective ways to combat hepatitis A.

The spread of hepatitis A can be reduced by:

·         Adequate supplies of safe drinking water;

·         Proper disposal of sewage within communities; and

·         Personal hygiene practices such as regular hand-washing with safe water.

·         Several injectable inactivated hepatitis A vaccines are available internationally. All are similar in terms of how well they protect people from   the virus and their side-effects. No vaccine is licensed for children younger than 1 year of age. In China, a live oral vaccine is also available.

Nearly 100% of people develop protective levels of antibodies to the virus within 1 month after injection of a single dose of vaccine. Even after exposure to the virus, a single dose of the vaccine within 2 weeks of contact with the virus has protective effects. Still, manufacturers recommend 2 vaccine doses to ensure a longer-term protection of about 5 to 8 years after vaccination.

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