Hepatitis A

What is it?  

  • A virus that causes inflammation of the liver.
  • But it does not lead to chronic liver disease

How is it transmitted? 

  • Oral-faecal contact (often poor food handling)

Activities which place people at risk

  • Oral contact with contaminated food, water, eating utensils
  • Contaminated hand to mouth contact
  • Household or sexual contact with an infected person

Short term effects 

  • Acute illness lasting 1-3 weeks
  • Usually presents with light coloured faeces, dark urine, fever, fatigue, skin / eye jaundice

Long term effects 

  • Usually no long term illness
  • People do not remain infectious to others

Vaccination? 

  • Yes

Prevention 

  • Washing hands after using the toilet
  • Attention to food and water hygiene if travelling overseas
  • Use of latex barriers for anal sexual practices (condoms, gloves, dams)

Testing 

  • There is an antibody test, if the result is positive and someone has never been vaccinated against HAV, then the person has had past exposure to the virus

Monitoring 

  • It is a short term acute illness that does not require monitoring

Treatment 

  • There is no treatment for hepatitis A
  • You may want to take symptom relief while you are unwell

More information 

http://www.hepatitisaustralia.com/hepatitis-a/

http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/immunise-hepa

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm