Thursday, May 19, 2022

What Is Hepatitis A And How Do You Get It

Who Should Obtain The Hepatitis A Vaccine

How do you get hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for the following persons:

  • Travelers to areas with increased rates of hepatitis A
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Injecting and non-injecting drug users
  • Persons with clotting-factor disorders
  • Persons with chronic liver disease
  • All children aged 12-23 months children not fully vaccinated by age two

The hepatitis A vaccine may also be used in certain outbreak situations where ongoing transmission is occurring. Although studies of certain occupational groups have not shown an increased risk, such people may consider vaccination if they wish to further reduce their risk or are in communities where ongoing outbreaks are occurring.

Will My Immunization Be Recorded

Your immunization records are registered in a computerized network known as the Immunization Records and Yellow Cards. While this one is specific to Ontario, each province has their own.

They can use information obtained in these databases to:

  • Maintain immunization data
  • Inform you whether or when you or your family members need an immunization
  • Track how well vaccinations perform to prevent vaccine-preventable infections

You can also share your immunization history with health care providers for the provision of social health services to aid with assessment and treatment and monitor the spread of infectious illnesses.

Who Is At Risk For Infection

Anyone who is not immune to hepatitis A can get hepatitis A infection. Food-borne outbreaks occur sporadically throughout the USA. Certain groups of people do have a higher risk of developing HAV infection and should be vaccinated:

  • Persons experiencing homelessness
  • People who eat raw or under-cooked shellfish

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How Common Is Hepatitis A

In the United States, hepatitis A has become relatively uncommon. After the hepatitis A vaccine became available in 1995, the rate of hepatitis A infections declined by 95 percent in the United States. The number of reported cases of hepatitis A fell to 1,239 in 2014, the lowest yearly number of cases reported since the disease could be tracked.1 However, the number of reported cases increased to 3,366 in 2017, almost 3 times higher, mostly due to outbreaks among people who use drugs and people experiencing homelessness.1 Early reports suggest that the numbers of cases and outbreaks of hepatitis A increased further during 2018 and continue at these higher rates in 2019.2

Hepatitis A is more common in developing countries where sanitation is poor and access to clean water is limited. Hepatitis A is more common in parts of Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe than it is in the United States.

How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis C Virus

Hepatitis A alert

Diagnosis of hepatitis C virus requires a blood test your doctor can order. Other blood tests can determine which subtype of HCV you have to better target your drug treatment, if needed. Your doctor will also want to know your viral load . In some patients, a liver biopsy is required to determine the level of damage.

Symptoms of chronic HCV may not appear for 2 to 3 decades after infection, so the disease may develop silently in your body for many years. This is the reason you should be tested for HCV infection, to start treatment if needed and to help protect your liver from damage.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone 18 years or older be tested for hepatitis C virus at least once in their lifetime. Women should be tested for hepatitis C testing during each pregnancy. Some high risk groups may need more frequent testing, such as people who share drug preparation equipment and those on hemodialysis.

Learn More: Oral Hepatitis C Treatments: The Evolving Landscape

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Advice For Restaurants And Retailers

Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have processed and packaged any potentially contaminated products need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products.

In the event that retailers and/or other food service operators are found to have handled recalled or other potentially contaminated food in their facilities, they should:

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw foods.
  • Contact their local health department and communicate to their customers regarding possible exposure to hepatitis A virus and the potential benefit of post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases where potentially contaminated products were served or stored.
  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.

The 5 Types Of Viral Hepatitis

Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis.

Hepatitis A is always an acute, short-term disease, while hepatitis B, C, and D are most likely to become ongoing and chronic. Hepatitis E is usually acute but can be particularly dangerous in pregnant women.

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How Do People Get Sick

Hepatitis viruses are spread from person to person through contact with infected feces , either directly or indirectly . People can carry the virus without showing symptoms, then spread it to other people, foods or surfaces.

People can get Hepatitis A after eating contaminated food and beverages. Food and drinks can become contaminated through:

  • a contaminated food handler
  • hands that were not washed properly after using the washroom
  • contamination during harvest, manufacturing and processing

Common food sources of Hepatitis A include:

  • contaminated water

What Is Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis A: How is it spread?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

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How Do You Get Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is really contagious. Its transmitted through contact with semen , vaginal fluids, and blood. You can get it from:

  • having vaginal, anal, or oral sex

  • sharing toothbrushes and razors

  • sharing needles for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.

  • getting stuck with a needle that has the Hep B virus on it.

Hepatitis B can also be passed to babies during birth if their mother has it.

Hepatitis B isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get hepatitis B from sharing food or drinks or using the same fork or spoon. Hepatitis B is also not spread through kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding.

How Is Hepatitis A Treated

There is no formal treatment for hepatitis A. Because its a short-term viral infection that goes away on its own, treatment is typically focused on reducing your symptoms.

After a few weeks of rest, the symptoms of hepatitis A usually begin to improve. To ease your symptoms, you should:

  • avoid alcohol

Also Check: How Does Someone Catch Hepatitis C

Treatment For Hepatitis A

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. In most cases, your immune system will clear the infection and your liver will completely heal. Treatment aims to ease symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Options may include:

  • Rest hepatitis A can make you tired and lacking in energy for day-to-day life, so rest when you can.
  • Eat small meals more often nausea can affect your ability to eat and can contribute to tiredness, so eat small amounts of high-calorie foods often if nausea is a problem.
  • Drink fluids.
  • Protect your liver the liver processes medication and alcohol, so avoid alcohol and review any medication with your doctor.

History And Physical Exam

Hepatitis A

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.

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When To Get Medical Advice

See your GP for advice if:

  • you have symptoms of hepatitis A a blood test can usually confirm whether you have the infection
  • you might have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus recently but you do not have any symptoms treatment given early on may be able to stop the infection developing
  • you think you might need the hepatitis A vaccine your GP can advise you about whether you should have the vaccine

Although hepatitis A is not usually serious, it’s important to see your GP so they can rule out more serious conditions with similar symptoms, such as hepatitis C or scarring of ther liver .

It may also be necessary to test your friends, family and any sexual partners in case you have spread the infection to them.

How Can You Avoid Hepatitis A

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to bevaccinated. People with certain risk factors andhealth problems need this vaccine. Ask your doctor ifthe vaccine is right for you. You cannot get hepatitisA from the vaccine. Hepatitis A vaccination isrecommended for:

  • All children at age 1 year
  • People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
  • People with chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • People with bleeding problems who take clotting factors
  • People whose work has a risk for hepatitis A infection
  • People who live in areas with high rates of hepatitis A infection
  • Travelers to countries that have high rates of hepatitis A. These include:
    • Africa

CDC’s Travelers’ Health site has information about hepatitis A and other vaccines.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.

Other ways to avoid hepatitis A:

  • Boil water or drink bottled water in places where the water may not be clean.
  • Eat cooked foods and fruits that you can peel. Avoid eating uncooked vegetables or fruits that could have been washed with dirty water, such as lettuce.
  • Avoid eating raw or steamed shellfish such as oysters. Shellfish may live in dirty water.
  • Use condoms correctly and every time you have sex.
  • Clean hands often.

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Who Is Likely To Be Affected By Hepatitis A

Certain people are more at risk than others for hepatitis A. These include:

  • People who use recreational drugs, both injected and non-injected types.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • People who have close contact with someone who already is infected.
  • People who have close contact with someone adopted from a country where hepatitis A is common, or people who travel to countries where hepatitis A is common.
  • People who work with non-human primates.
  • People who have clotting factor issues, including hemophilia.
  • People who work in child care, or children who are in childcare.

How Can You Prevent Hepatitis A

What is Hepatitis B? | How is Hepatitis B Transmitted?

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.

Read Also: What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis A And B

Who Should Be Vaccinated

Children

  • All children aged 1223 months
  • All children and adolescents 218 years of age who have not previously received hepatitis A vaccine

People at increased risk for hepatitis A

  • International travelers
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who use or inject drugs
  • People with occupational risk for exposure
  • People who anticipate close personal contact with an international adoptee
  • People experiencing homelessness

People at increased risk for severe disease from hepatitis A infection

  • People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C
  • People with HIV

Other people recommended for vaccination

  • Pregnant women at risk for hepatitis A or risk for severe outcome from hepatitis A infection

Any person who requests vaccination

There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C.

Who Is At Risk Of Getting Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is usually spread from person to person, making it highly contagious. However, certain factors can increase your risk of contracting it, including:

  • living in an area where hepatitis A is common, including most countries with low sanitation standards or a lack of safe water
  • injecting or using illegal drugs
  • living in the same household as someone who is hepatitis A-positive
  • having sexual activity with someone who is hepatitis A-positive
  • being HIV-positive

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Who Should Get The Hepatitis A Vaccine

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all children in the U.S. get vaccinated against hepatitis A at age 12 months. However, if an infant aged 6-11 months will be traveling to a country with a significant number of people with hepatitis A, the child should get one dose before leaving the U.S. The child should then get 2 doses separated by 6 to 18 months when the child is between 12 months and 23 months.

You should also get the hepatitis A vaccine if you fall into one of the following groups:

  • Men who have sexual contact with other men.
  • Users of any type of illegal drugs.
  • People with blood clot disorders, such as hemophilia.
  • People who have chronic liver disease.
  • Homeless people.
  • People who will be closely involved with a person being adopted from a country with high rates of hepatitis A infections.

Concerns About Immunisation Side Effects

Are you at High Risk for Hepatitis A? Get vaccinated ...

If a side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your childs condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.

Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the Victorian vaccine safety and central reporting service. Adverse events in other states or territories can be reported through SAEFVAC.

It is important to seek medical advice if you are unwell, as this may be due to other illness rather than because of the vaccination.

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Are There Complications From Hepatitis A

In extremely rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to acute liver failure. This complication is most common in older adults and people who already have chronic liver disease. If this occurs, you will be hospitalized. Even in cases of liver failure, a full recovery is likely. Very rarely is a liver transplant required.

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.

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How You Can Get Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is most widespread in parts of the world where standards of sanitation and food hygiene are generally poor, such as parts of Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Far East, the Middle East, and Central and South America.

You can get the infection from:

  • eating food prepared by someone with the infection who has not washed their hands properly or washed them in water contaminated with sewage
  • drinking contaminated water, including ice cubes
  • eating raw or undercooked shellfish from contaminated water
  • close contact with someone who has hepatitis A
  • less commonly, having sex with someone with hepatitis A or injecting drugs using contaminated equipment

Someone with hepatitis A is most infectious from around 2 weeks before symptoms appear until about a week after symptoms first develop.

Twinrix: The Vaccine For Hepatitis A And B

Do You Need to Get Screened for Hepatitis C?

Both hepatitis A and B are identified by obtaining a blood sample, which you submit to a laboratory test. This test decides whether you have antibodies in the blood unique to those viruses. If the result is positive, you have been subjected to either hepatitis A or B.

To check whether anyone has hepatitis B, the test will see whether the individual has certain hepatitis B antigen levels.

Recommended Reading: Hepatitis B How Is It Spread

How Does One Administer Twinrix

Twinrix is given by injecting the liquid into the muscles. How many Twinrix shots do I need? It is provided as a sequence of three dosages. With the second dose given at least one month after the first. The final and third dose given at least six months after the first dosage.

A 4-dose rapid schedule is also accessible for individuals 19 years of age and over. It is safe to receive the hepatitis A and B vaccination in conjunction with other vaccines.

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