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Hepatitis A

Overview

Hepatitis A - a viral infection, a major cause of liver inflammation worldwide.

The causes of hepatitis A

Infection occurs primarily through contaminated food and water. Play a role in direct contact with the patient, as well as the use of the same dishes and shared bathroom. The virus may persist for several hours hand of the person, and food at room temperature for longer.

The virus can also be transmitted through shellfish that have lived in water contaminated by sewage or on fruit or raw vegetables contaminated during processing. Heat treatment completely kills the hepatitis A virus, but the food can become contaminated after cooking. The virus can be spread among the people due to poor hygiene practices and the close contact in areas with poor sanitation and overcrowding.

The disease is common in all developing countries, and is quite rare in developed countries, where the skills of hygiene and vaccination control the spread of the disease.

Symptoms of hepatitis A

Hepatitis A begins with a temperature lasting from 4 to 10 days, feelings of weakness and malaise, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and muscle pain. In the next stage of the disease when the process involves the liver, urine darkening. Another day or two later, the white of the eye and skin turning yellow (jaundice) and the stool becomes colorless. At this time, the initial fever and nausea disappear. The patient may experience generalized itching, and abdominal pain.

Some people, especially in children, hepatitis A may be asymptomatic, and so the disease can be diagnosed incorrectly or do not go unnoticed.

Hepatitis A does not have a severe long-term damaging effects on the liver, but in rare cases, severe hepatic insufficiency can lead to coma and death. The majority of patients with acute hepatitis A fully recover from the infection (unlike Hepatitis B and C, which cause chronic inflammation of the liver stable).

People who fully recovered from the disease, develop antibodies to hepatitis A and formed lasting life-long immunity.

What you can do?

The risk of hepatitis A while traveling varies depending on the incidence of hepatitis A in the area visited, living conditions and hygiene practices in food preparation, duration of stay in the country. Risk when traveling in developed countries is very small. However, traveling through rural areas of developing countries and the violent questionable from the point of view of hygiene, food and water are at risk. Traveling to countries where the risk is greater, try not to drink water that may be contaminated (including ice in drinks). Do not eat raw shellfish and raw vegetables and fruits, which are not removed from the peel and are cooked in poor sanitary conditions. If in doubt, better to eat only the food that you have prepared yourself. In cases of suspected hepatitis should consult your doctor immediately.

What can a doctor?

The physician must send to the hospital, where accurate diagnosis. Treatment of mild hepatitis A is primarily aimed at relieving symptoms. To avoid complications from liver injury needs rest and polupostelny mode. In 98% of cases there is a full recovery.

Prevention of hepatitis A

In addition to hygienic precautions vaccination remains the most effective approach to the prevention of hepatitis A. Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended for all travelers to countries with medium and high frequency of morbidity (especially developing countries). Your physician or vaccination center will prompt whether to vaccinations when traveling to a particular country. Immunoglobulins as a routine method of prevention of hepatitis A in travelers are no longer recommended.
The hepatitis A vaccine is available in the forms of release for adults and children older than two years.