Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is an infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. People who live or travel to sub-Saharan and northern Africa are most at risk.

The virus is usually spread by eating food and/or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person or by injection drug use, contact with an infected person, having sex with someone infected with hepatitis A virus, and poor personal hygiene.

Symptoms of hepatitis A typically present for a few weeks and are similar to hepatitis B, C, D and E, they may include fever, jaundice, itching, fatigue and abdominal pain.

There is currently no cure for hepatitis A, but it is preventable by vaccine and improved personal hygiene, other ways include regular hand washing and only eating properly cooked foods.

 

 

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of hepatitis A usually don’t appear for weeks. In most cases people are asymptomatic. common symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark colored urine
  • Joint pain
  • Signs of jaundice (yellow of the skin and eyes)

 

 

CAUSES

Hepatitis A is a viral disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can be spread when one eats or drinks something contaminated with feces.

Other ways the disease can be spread include,

  • contaminated foods and water
  • injecting drugs using contaminated needles
  • eating raw or poorly cooked shellfish from sewage polluted water
  • eating foods made by an hepatitis A infected person
  • having sex with an infected person or
  • contact with an infected person.

 

 

RISK FACTORS

Some of the risk factors of hepatitis A viral disease include,

  • Unvaccinated children
  • Living in poor sanitary environments
  • Lack of safe water
  • Use injectable drugs
  • living with a friend or relative infected with hepatitis A
  • having sex with someone with acute hepatitis A infection
  • travelling to places where the disease is more prevalent

 

 

PREVENTION

People usually advised to have the hepatitis A vaccine include:

  • People who work, travel or live in parts of the world where hepatitis A is very common.
  • People with chronic liver disease
  • Men who have sex with other men
  • People who inject and use illegal drugs
  • Other people who may be exposed to hepatitis A include sewage or laboratory workers

 

 

Ways you can prevent spread hepatitis A if you are infected

These can limit spread of hepatitis A while infected, when infected with the virus it is important you;

  • Stay off work or school
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly
  • Avoid sharing towels and wash soiled laundry separately
  • Clean the toilet, flush handles and taps more frequently
  • Avoid having sex

 

 

TREATMENT

There’s currently no cure for hepatitis A, symptoms are likely to disappear within in a few weeks. However, home remedy is recommended.

While no cure for hepatitis A, these steps can help relieve your symptoms

  • Rest.
  • Over the counter painkillers, and
  • Alcohol resistance

 

SOURCES

WHO – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs328/en/

Mayoclinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatitis-a/symptoms-causes/syc-20367007

 

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