WHAT IS HEPATITIS A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people.
HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED?
Hepatitis A can be got from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected including sexual encounters. It does not spread through sneezing or coughing.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Sudden nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Intense itching
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
You’re at increased risk of hepatitis A if you:
- Travel or work in areas of the world where hepatitis A is common
- Attend childcare or work in a childcare center
- Live with another person who has hepatitis A
- Have any type of sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A
- Are HIV positive
- Have a clotting-factor disorder, such as hemophilia
- Use any type of illegal drugs (not just those that are injected)
HOW IS HEPATITIS A DIAGNOSED?
- Through a blood screening test
- The test cost the average rage of Kes. 1,500-4,500
- The tests are available at trusted labs and hospital. You can follow this link for an offer at Imara Mediplus Hospital for a discounted test. https://www.imaramed.org/
If I have had hepatitis A in the past, can I get it again?
- Once you recover from hepatitis A, you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life. (An antibody is a substance found in the blood that the body produces in response to a virus. They protect the body from disease by attaching to the virus and destroying it.)
How soon after exposure to hepatitis A will symptoms appear?
- If symptoms occur, they usually start appearing 4 weeks after exposure, but can occur as early as 2 and as late as 7 weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days.
How long do hepatitis A symptoms last?
- Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people (10%–15%) with hepatitis A can have symptoms for as long as 6 months.
Can a person spread hepatitis A without having symptoms?
- Many people, especially children, have no symptoms. In addition, a person can transmit the virus to others up to 2 weeks before symptoms appear.
How is hepatitis A treated?
- Un-vaccinated people who have been exposed recently (within 2 weeks) to the hepatitis A virus should get the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness. To treat the symptoms of hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids. Some people will need medical care in a hospital. It can take a few months before people with hepatitis A begin to feel better.
HOW CAN IT BE PREVENTED
- Practice hygiene eg. Proper hand hygiene after using the bathroom, using clean uncontaminated water for drinking or cooking
- Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
- Lai M. Hepatitis A virus infection in adults: An overview. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 8, 2017.