How Do Doctors Treat Hepatitis A
Treatment includes resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and eating healthy foods to help relieve symptoms. Your doctor may also suggest medicines to help relieve symptoms.
Talk with your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins or other dietary supplements, or complementary or alternative medicinesany of these could damage your liver. You should avoid alcohol until your doctor tells you that you have completely recovered from hepatitis A.
See your doctor regularly to make sure your body has fully recovered. If you have symptoms for longer than 6 months, see your doctor again.
Control And Prevention Of Hepatitis A
In areas of high prevalence, most children are infected early in life and suchinfections are generally asymptomatic. Infections acquired later in life are ofincreasing clinical severity. Less than 10% of cases of acute hepatitis A inchildren up to the age of six are icteric, but this increases to4050% in the 614 age group and to 7080% inadults.
Of 115,551 cases of hepatitis A in the USA between 1983 and 1987, only 9% of thecases, but more than 70% of the fatalities, were in those aged over 49. It isimportant, therefore, to protect those at risk because of personal contact withinfected individuals or because of travel to a highly endemic area. Other groupsat risk of hepatitis A infection include staff and residents of institutions forthe mentally handicapped, day care centers for children, sexually active malehomosexuals, intravenous drug abusers, sewage workers, certain groups of healthcare workers such as medical students on elective studies in countries wherehepatitis A is common, military personnel, and certain low socio-economic groupsin defined community settings. Patients with chronic liver disease, especiallyif visiting an endemic area, should be immunized against hepatitis A. In somedeveloping countries, the incidence of clinical hepatitis A is increasing asimprovements in socio-economic conditions result in infection later in life, andstrategies for immunization are yet to be developed and agreed.
Why Is The Hepatitis A Vaccine Important
Because of the vaccine, rates of hepatitis A in the United States are the lowest theyve been in 40 years. But hepatitis A is still common in other countries, so its possible for people to get the disease when they travel.
Most people who get hepatitis A only get a mild form of the disease. But in some cases, hepatitis A can lead to serious liver problems and even death.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. Some people with hepatitis A dont have any symptoms. Other people do develop symptoms, including:
- Dark pee or clay-colored poop
- Pain in the joints and stomach
Symptoms usually last less than 2 months but they can last as long as 6 months.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when someone eats or drinks something that has come in contact with the poop of someone with the hepatitis A virus. For example, hepatitis A can spread when someone who has it doesnt wash their hands properly after using the bathroom and then touches food.
Hepatitis A can also spread from person to person through sexual contact. Learn more about hepatitis A.
All children need to get the hepatitis A vaccine and some adults may need it, too.
Infants and children
All children need to get the hepatitis A vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.
Children need 2 doses of the vaccine at the following ages:
- 12 through 23 months for the first dose
- 2 through 4 years for the second dose
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How Is The Virus Spread
Hepatitis A virus is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A. This type of transmission is called the “fecal-oral” route. For this reason, the virus is more easily spread in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or where good personal hygiene is not observed.
Most infections in the United States result from contact with a household member or sex partner who has hepatitis A.Hepatitis A virus may also be spread by consuming food or drink that has been handled by an infected person. Waterborne outbreaks are infrequent and are usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water. Casual contact, as in the office, factory or school setting, does not spread the virus.
When Will Symptoms Appear After You Have Been Exposed To Hav
It generally takes about 4 weeks for symptoms to appear, but they can start at 2 weeks or they can start up to 8 weeks after you have been exposed. You probably wont get every symptom immediately, but they tend to emerge over days.
Also, you can have no symptoms and have the virus and be contagious. Children especially may be free of symptoms despite being infected.
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What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A, also called hep A, is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. Some people have only a mild illness that lasts a few weeks. Others have more severe problems that can last months. You usually get the disease when you eat or drink something contaminated by poop from a person who has the virus.
The hepatitis A virus usually isnât dangerous. Almost everyone who has it gets better. But because it can take a while to go away, youâll need to take care of yourself in the meantime.
Hepatitis A In Australia
In recent years, hepatitis A notifications and hospitalisations have been low and trending down.1An increasing proportion of cases relate to travel to countries where hepatitis A is endemic.12-14
Hepatitis A in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
The hepatitis A vaccination program was initially established in north Queensland in 1999 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 18 months.15 In 2005, it expanded to include all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2 years in:
- the Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Before the vaccination program, rates of hepatitis A in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were very high. Factors associated with high rates were poor living conditions, overcrowding and poor sanitation.16 The hepatitis A vaccination program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in endemic areas substantially reduced hospitalisations and notifications for this population.17
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children > 2 years of age in states and territories targeted by the hepatitis A vaccination program have received hep A vaccine. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remain at greater risk than non-Indigenous children of acquiring hepatitis A.17
History of hepatitis A in Australia
More recently, Hepatitis A outbreaks have been associated with a common food source.17,21,22
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Vaccination Against Hepatitis A
Vaccination against hepatitis A is not routinely offered in the UK because the risk of infection is low for most people.
It’s only recommended for people at an increased risk, including:
- close contacts of someone with hepatitis A
- people planning to travel to or live in parts of the world where hepatitis A is widespread, particularly if sanitation and food hygiene are expected to be poor
- people with any type of long-term liver disease
- men who have sex with other men
- people who inject illegal drugs
- people who may be exposed to hepatitis A through their job this includes sewage workers, people who work for organisations where personal hygiene may be poor, such as a homeless shelter, and people working with monkeys, apes and gorillas
The hepatitis A vaccine is usually available for free on the NHS for anyone who needs it.
Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis A
Although anyone can get hepatitis A, you are at higher risk if you
- Travel to developing countries
The symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people can be ill for as long as 6 months.
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What Are The Treatments For Hepatitis A
If you have not had the vaccine, and your infection has been confirmed by a blood sample, your healthcare provider might give you the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin . This only works if the medicine is given within two weeks of you being exposed to HAV.
If you were exposed and are unable to get the vaccine or the immune globulin, you are likely to recover without treatment. However, your healthcare provider will probably recommend that you follow the following self-care recommendations:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Review any type of medicineprescription and over-the-counterthat you take with your healthcare provider. Even things like supplements or vitamins could cause damage to your liver.
Why Isn’t Hepatitis A Vaccine Required For Food Service Workers
While food service employers can offer hepatitis A vaccine to their employees if they wish, most public health authorities prefer not to make it mandatory for the following reasons:
- There is no evidence that food service workers are at any greater risk of acquiring hepatitis A than are people in other occupations.
- Only 2-3 percent of all hepatitis A cases are acquired through restaurant food.
- Employee turnover in some segments of the food service industry is high, making it impractical to vaccinate staff.
- Emphasis on careful hand washing, use of disposable gloves and not working when ill are measures that can greatly minimize the risk of spreading hepatitis A and a number of other infections.
- Hepatitis A vaccine would be strongly recommended for food service workers in a county or region where a community-wide outbreak has been recognized.
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Preparation Prior To Transport
Label the specimen container with the patients full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patients date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.
Centrifuge if using SST. Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection.
What Are The Common Types Of Viral Hepatitis
Although the most common types of viral hepatitis are HAV, HBV, and HCV, some clinicians had previously considered the acute and chronic phases of hepatic infections as “types” of viral hepatitis. HAV was considered to be acute viral hepatitis because the HAV infections seldom caused permanent liver damage that led to hepatic failure. HBV and HCV produced chronic viral hepatitis. However, these terms are outdated and not currently used as frequently because all of the viruses that cause hepatitis may have acute phase symptoms . Prevention techniques and vaccinations have markedly reduced the current incidence of common viral hepatitis infections however, there remains a population of about 1 to 2 million people in the U.S. with chronic HBV, and about 3.5 million with chronic HCV according to the CDC. Statistics are incomplete for determining how many new infections occur each year the CDC documented infections but then goes on to estimate the actual numbers by further estimating the number of unreported infections .
Types D, E, and G Hepatitis
Individuals who already have chronic HBV infection can acquire HDV infection at the same time as they acquire the HBV infection, or at a later time. Those with chronic hepatitis due to HBV and HDV develop cirrhosis rapidly. Moreover, the combination of HDV and HBV virus infection is very difficult to treat.
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History And Physical Exam
To diagnose hepatitis, first your doctor will take your history to determine any risk factors you may have for infectious or noninfectious hepatitis.
During a physical examination, your doctor may press down gently on your abdomen to see if theres pain or tenderness. Your doctor may also feel to see if your liver is enlarged. If your skin or eyes are yellow, your doctor will note this during the exam.
Efficacy Of Hepatitis A Vaccines
Randomised controlled trials show that the vaccines have protective efficacy of nearly 100%.28,29 This is supported by the apparent eradication of hepatitis A from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in north Queensland and the Northern Territory since the vaccination program started in these regions.15,17,30
A single dose of Hepatitis A vaccine can confer protection for several years. There is evidence to suggest that a single dose of HAV hepatitis A vaccine can be 100% efficacious in preventing hepatitis A infection in seronegative young children in the study period from 6 weeks to 15 months post vaccination.31 Other studies have demonstrated effectiveness of a single dose in preventing hepatitis A infection up to 7 years after vaccination.25,32
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How Long Does The Hepatitis A Vaccine Last
We dont know exactly how long the protection of the vaccine lasts, but studies have indicated that it lasts at least 20 years in some people and it could last as long as 40 years or more. Having only one dose of the recommended two-dose vaccine has shown to provide protection for at least 10 years.
How Do I Avoid Getting Sick
These tips will help protect you and your family from Hepatitis A:
- Wash your hands after using the washroom and changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
- When travelling, especially to developing countries:
- drink water from a safe supply
- avoid ice cubes in drinks
- eat only freshly cooked food
- avoid non-peelable raw fruit or vegetables
Also, these safe food practices will reduce your risk of contracting Hepatitis A and other foodborne illnesses.
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People Who Dined At Splitz Grill On Sat Oct 9 May Have Been Exposed To The Virus
Vancouver Coastal Health is warning of a possible hepatitis A exposure for people who dined at a burger joint in Whistler earlier this month.
According to a written statement from the health authority, anyone who dined at Splitz Grill at 4369 Main St. between noon and 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 9 may have been exposed to the virus.
“While the risk of transmission remains low, public health advises anyone who consumed food at this restaurant during this specific time period and who are not protected against hepatitis A, to get immunized against the virus,” it said in an exposure notice on Thursday.
It said a walk-in hepatitis A vaccine clinic will be set up at the Whistler Community Health Centre for anyone who needs immunization.
Who Is At Risk
Anyone who has not been vaccinated or previously infected can get infected with the hepatitis A virus. In areas where the virus is widespread , most hepatitis A infections occur during early childhood. Risk factors include:
- poor sanitation
- living in a household with an infected person
- being a sexual partner of someone with acute hepatitis A infection
- use of recreational drugs
- travelling to areas of high endemicity without being immunized.
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People Whose Lifestyle Increases Their Risk Of Acquiring Hepatitis A
Serological testing for hepatitis A immunity is not routinely recommended, but may be appropriate for some people
Serological testing for immunity to hepatitis A is not routinely recommended before receiving hepatitis A vaccine.
It is also inappropriate to test people who cannot remember whether they have ever had a hepatitis A vaccine. If a person is recommended for vaccination and has no records of previous vaccination, they should receive a vaccine.
However, certain groups of people should be screened for natural immunity to hepatitis A to avoid unnecessary vaccination:
- people who were born before 1950
- people who spent their early childhood in hepatitis Aendemic areas
- people with an unexplained previous episode of hepatitis or jaundice
People with unexplained jaundice should also be tested for other causes of hepatitis, including hepatitis B.
These people may need to be tested for total hepatitis A antibodies or IgG antibodies against hepatitis A virus. A positive test indicates immunity to hepatitis A. People who are immune do not need hepatitis A vaccination.
To better interpret serological testing results, discuss them with the laboratory that performed the test. Ensure that the laboratory receives the relevant clinical information.
Who Should Be Tested
Testing for hepatitis A is not routinely recommended.
CDC recommends hepatitis B testing for:
- Men who have sex with men
- People who inject drugs
- Household and sexual contacts of people with hepatitis B
- People requiring immunosuppressive therapy
- People with end-stage renal disease
- People with hepatitis C
- People with elevated ALT levels
- Pregnant women
- Infants born to HBV-infected mothers
CDC recommends hepatitis C testing for:
- All adults aged 18 years and older
- All pregnant women during each pregnancy
- About 24,900 new infections each year
- About 22,600 new infections in 2018
- Estimated 862,000 people living with hepatitis B
- About 50,300 new infections in 2018
- Estimated 2.4 million people living with hepatitis C
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