Hepatitis A Vaccine And Travel
If youâre going to a country where hepatitis A is common and youâve never had the virus or the vaccine, start the vaccination process as soon as you can. It takes 2 to 4 weeks after the first dose for the vaccine to work, but even one shot a few days before you leave will give you some protection.
People who are allergic to something in the vaccine and children younger than 6 months might instead get a shot of immune globulin , which will protect against hepatitis A for up to 2 months.
Can Hepatitis A Be Treated
There is no drug treatment for hepatitis A. The disease will eventually run its course and an infected person will recover completely although recovery time varies for each person. Recovery from this virus infection means that you are protected for life from getting it again.
The following are some ways of dealing with the symptoms:
- You will feel tired and may have very little energy. You may need to take time off from daily activities, work or school to recover.
- Nausea and vomiting may cause you to lose your appetite. Try to eat small snacks and soft foods such as soup or toast.
- You may look yellow. Once you become yellow, you are no longer infectious. There is no need to isolate yourself. Let people around you know it is OK to be near you.
- Try not to drink alcohol. Your liver may not be able to process alcohol and alcohol may make your symptoms worse.
- Talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications or complementary medicine. None of the alternative therapies have proved helpful in treating hepatitis A.
What Causes Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus . The virus is spread when one person ingests tiny unseen pieces of fecal matter from an infected person. It takes about two to seven weeks after exposure to the virus for symptoms to start.
Water and ice can be contaminated with HAV. Raw shellfish from contaminated water can cause hepatitis A, as can other foods that are not cooked, such as fruits and vegetables.
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How Is Hepatitis D Transmitted
Hepatitis D is not an easily transmitted virus like the common cold or flu. In fact, a person can only get the hepatitis D virus if they already have another form of viral hepatitis known as hepatitis B.
People can get hepatitis B and D at the same time , or they can get hepatitis D separately after first getting hepatitis B .
Hepatitis D can be transmitted in two main ways:
- Exposure through skin puncture: Hepatitis D can be transmitted through activities in which the skin is broken or punctured. This includes exposure to the infection through a syringe, tattooing needle, razor, or body piercing tool.
- Contact with infected blood or bodily fluids: The virus can be contracted through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. For example, exposure can happen during sexual intercourse, contact with blood or an open sore, and childbirth.
Even though the virus can be present in saliva, hepatitis D is not believed to be transmitted through activities like coughing, sneezing, hugging, handholding, kissing, eating contaminated food, or sharing utensils.
How Is Viral Hepatitis Diagnosed
Diagnosis of viral hepatitis is based on symptoms and physical findings as well as blood tests for liver enzymes, viral antibodies, and viral genetic materials.
Symptoms and physical findings
Diagnosis of acute viral hepatitis often is easy, but the diagnosis of chronic hepatitis can be difficult. When a patient reports symptoms of fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, darkening of urine, and then develops jaundice, the diagnosis of acute viral hepatitis is likely and can be confirmed by blood tests. On the other hand, patients with chronic hepatitis due to HBV and HCV often have no symptoms or only mild nonspecific symptoms such as chronic fatigue. Typically, these patients do not have jaundice until the liver damage is far advanced. Therefore, these patients can remain undiagnosed for years to decades.
There are three types of blood tests for evaluating patients with hepatitis: liver enzymes, antibodies to the hepatitis viruses, and viral proteins or genetic material .
Liver enzymes: Among the most sensitive and widely used blood tests for evaluating patients with hepatitis are liver enzymes, called aminotransferases. They include aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase . These enzymes normally are contained within liver cells. If the liver is injured , the liver cells spill the enzymes into the blood, raising the enzyme levels in the blood and signaling that the liver is damaged.
Examples of tests for viral antibodies are:
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Viral Hepatitis Definition And Overview
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Many illnesses and conditions can cause inflammation of the liver, for example, drugs, alcohol, chemicals, and autoimmune diseases. Many viruses, for example, the virus causing mononucleosis and the cytomegalovirus, can inflame the liver. Most viruses, however, do not attack primarily the liver the liver is just one of several organs that the viruses affect. When most doctors speak of viral hepatitis, they are using the definition that means hepatitis caused by a few specific viruses that primarily attack the liver and are responsible for about half of all human hepatitis. There are several hepatitis viruses they have been named types A, B, C, D, E, F , and G. As our knowledge of hepatitis viruses grows, it is likely that this alphabetical list will become longer. The most common hepatitis viruses are types A, B, and C. Reference to the hepatitis viruses often occurs in an abbreviated form The focus of this article is on these viruses that cause the majority of human viral hepatitis.
Hepatitis viruses replicate primarily in the liver cells. This can cause the liver to be unable to perform its functions. The following is a list of major functions of the liver:
How Can You Prevent Hepatitis A
There is a vaccine, made from an inactivateddeadvirus to prevent hepatitis A. If you are not sure you have had the vaccine, you can ask your doctor to test you to see if you have been vaccinated.
You can also practice good hand washing hygiene. Make sure you use soap and warm water to wash your hands for at least 15 to 30 seconds after you use the toilet, change diapers, and before and after touching food.
If you are traveling in another country, especially a developing country, drink only bottled water and use only bottled water to brush your teeth, wash your produce, and freeze for ice cubes.
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Treatment And Prevention Of Hepatitis A
Because hepatitis A virus infections can have serious health consequences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends providing post-exposure prophylaxis for unvaccinated people who have consumed any contaminated food or water within two weeks of exposure.
PEP consists of:
- Hepatitis A vaccine for people between the ages of 1 and 40 years
- Hepatitis A virus-specific immunoglobulin for people outside of this age range, but the hepatitis A vaccine can be substituted if IG is not available.
- Those with evidence of previous vaccination or who can confirm previous hepatitis A illness do not require PEP.
If you are unsure if you have been vaccinated against hepatitis A, contact your health professional to check your immunization records. If you have been vaccinated, no further action is needed. If you have never received the hepatitis A vaccine, getting a single dose within two weeks of exposure can protect against illness. If you are unable to determine whether you have already been vaccinated, receiving an additional dose of vaccine is not harmful if you have already been vaccinated.
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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Diagnosis Of Acute Viral Hepatitis
Doctors suspect acute viral hepatitis based on symptoms. During the physical examination, a doctor presses on the abdomen above the liver, which is tender and somewhat enlarged in about half of the people with acute viral hepatitis.
Doctors suspect fulminant hepatitis if
People are very ill and develop jaundice very quickly.
Mental function quickly deteriorates.
Blood tests to determine how quickly blood clotsâprothrombin time or international normalized ratio âare abnormal.
People who have liver disease start worsening rapidly.
These blood tests can detect parts of specific viruses or specific antibodies produced by the body to fight the viruses. involves white blood cells that travel through the bloodstream and into tissues, searching for and attacking microorganisms and… read more â are proteins produced by the immune system to help defend the body against attack by viruses and other foreign invaders.)
To determine whether the cause may be something other than a virus, the doctor may ask whether people take any drugs that can cause hepatitis and how much alcohol they drink.
Occasionally, if the diagnosis is unclear, a liver biopsy is done: A sample of liver tissue is removed with a needle and examined.
Managing Injection Site Discomfort
Many vaccine injections may result in soreness, redness, itching, swelling or burning at the injection site for one to 2 days. Paracetamol might be required to ease the discomfort. Sometimes a small, hard lump at the injection site may persist for some weeks or months. This should not be of concern and requires no treatment.
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Hbv And Hepatocellular Carcinoma
When tests for HBsAg became widely available, regions of the world where thechronic carrier state is common were found to be coincident with those wherethere is a high prevalence of primary liver cancer. Furthermore, in these areas,patients with tumor almost invariably are seropositive for HBsAg. A prospectivestudy in Taiwan revealed that 184 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma occurred in3,454 carriers of HBsAg at the start of the study, but only 10 such tumors arosein the 19,253 control males who were HBsAg negative.
How Can Hepatitis A Be Prevented
To prevent person-to-person spread, careful hand washing after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing or eating food, is the single most important means of prevention.
Foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks are relatively uncommon in the United States however, when they occur, intensive public health efforts are required for their control. To prevent the spread of hepatitis A from an infected food worker to co-workers and/or restaurant patrons, food workers should never touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands, and should carefully wash their hands after using the bathroom, even if the food worker does not feel sick. Food workers should never work while they are sick with stomach illnesses.
Immune globulin shots are effective in preventing the spread of hepatitis A if given within 14 days of exposure. Immune globulin may be recommended for co-workers of infected food workers. Under certain circumstances, particularly when recommended food safety procedures are not followed by food workers, public health officials may recommend that restaurant patrons receive immune globulin.
For long-term protection, hepatitis A vaccine is the best method of prevention.
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What Causes Hepatitis A And How Is It Contracted
People develop hepatitis A infection after contracting HAV. This virus is typically transmitted by ingesting food or liquid contaminated with fecal matter that contains the virus. Once transmitted, the virus spreads through the bloodstream to the liver, where it causes inflammation and swelling.
In addition to transmission from eating food or drinking water containing HAV, the virus can also be spread by close personal contact with an infected person. HAV is contagious, and a person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others living in the same household.
You can contract hepatitis A by:
- eating food prepared by someone with the hepatitis A virus
- eating food handled by preparers who dont follow strict hand-washing routines before touching food that you eat
- eating sewage-contaminated raw shellfish
- not using condoms when having sex with someone who has the hepatitis A virus
- drinking polluted water
- coming in contact with hepatitis A-infected fecal matter
If you contract the virus, you will be contagious two weeks before symptoms even appear. The contagious period will end about one week after symptoms appear.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Hepatitis A
Doctors diagnose hepatitis A based on symptoms and a blood test. A health care professional will take a blood sample from you and send the sample to a lab. A blood test will detect antibodies to the hepatitis A virus called immunoglobulin M antibodies and show whether you have acute hepatitis A. If the blood test finds antibodies to the hepatitis A virus that are not IgM antibodies, then you are immune to hepatitis A, due to either past hepatitis A infection or hepatitis A vaccination.
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What Is Acute Fulminant Hepatitis
Rarely, individuals with acute infections with HAV and HBV develop severe inflammation, and the liver fails . These patients are extremely ill with the symptoms of acute hepatitis already described and the additional problems of confusion or coma , as well as bruising or bleeding . In fact, up to 80% of people with acute fulminant hepatitis can die within days to weeks therefore, it is fortunate that acute fulminant hepatitis is rare. For example, less than 0.5% of adults with acute infection with HBV will develop acute fulminant hepatitis. This is even less common with HCV alone, although it becomes more frequent when both HBV and HCV are present together.
Does Hepatitis A Always Cause Symptoms
There’s a lot of variety in how people feel when they have the disease. It’s possible you might not have any symptoms. But people often feel and look sick. You might even need to go to the hospital.
Symptoms and complications are more common as you get older. Most children under age 6 with hep A don’t have any.
What Is Viral Hepatitis
Viral hepatitis is an infection of the liver caused by a virus that attacks liver cells. The resulting inflammation may impair the liver’s ability to aid in digestion of food and to remove toxins from the blood. Symptoms range from mild to severe, but some individuals have no symptoms. Infrequently, acute infections can be fatal.
There are several types of viral hepatitis, called A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Of all types of hepatitis, A, B and C are the most common in the US and so will be described below.
Hepatitis A Vaccine And International Travel
Who should get the hepatitis A vaccine before traveling internationally?
All unvaccinated people, along with those who have never had hepatitis A, should be vaccinated before traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common. Travelers to urban areas, resorts, and luxury hotels in countries where hepatitis A is common are still at risk. International travelers have been infected, even though they regularly washed their hands and were careful about what they drank and ate. Those who are too young or cant get vaccinated because of a previous, life-threatening reaction to the hepatitis A vaccine or vaccine component should receive immune globulin. Travelers to other countries where hepatitis A does not commonly occur are not recommended to receive hepatitis A vaccine before travel.
How soon before travel should I get the hepatitis A vaccine?
You should get the first dose of hepatitis A vaccine as soon as you plan international travel to a country where hepatitis A is common. The vaccine will provide some protection even if you get vaccinated closer to departure. For older adults , people who are immunocompromised, and people with chronic liver disease or other chronic medical conditions the health-care provider may consider, based on several factors, giving an injection of immune globulin at the same time in different limbs.
What should I do if I am traveling internationally but cannot receive hepatitis A vaccine?
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Diagnosis Of Hcv Infection
Successful cloning of portions of the viral genome permitted the development ofnew diagnostic tests for infection by the virus. Since the original antigen wasdetected by antibodies in the serum of an infected patient it was an obviouscandidate for the basis of an ELISA to detect anti-HCV antibodies. A largerclone, C100, was assembled from a number of overlapping clones and expressed inyeast as a fusion protein using human superoxide dismutase sequences tofacilitate expression, and this fusion protein formed the basis of firstgeneration tests for HCV infection. The 5-1-1 antigen comprises amino acidsequences from the non-structural, NS4, region of the genome and C100 containsboth NS3 and NS4 sequences.
It is now known that antibodies to C100 are detected relatively late following anacute infection. Furthermore, the first generation ELISAs were associated with ahigh rate of false positive reactions when applied to low incidence populations,and there were further problems with some retrospective studies on stored sera.Data based on this test alone should, therefore, be interpreted withcaution.
The availability of the nucleotide sequence of HCV made possible the use of thepolymerase chain reaction as a direct test for the genome of the virus.There is considerable variation in nucleotide sequences among different isolatesof HCV, and the 5 non-coding region, which seems to be highlyconserved, is the preferred target for the PCR.