is hepatitis A and how could I get it?
Hepatitis A is a potentially serious disease caused by a
virus which attacks the liver. Anyone can get it. The virus
is transmitted through contaminated food, such as raw or
insufficiently cooked seafood and shellfish, and contaminated
water. It can be passed by someone infected with the virus
who doesn't wash his/her hands properly after a bowel movement
and then touches something you eat.
Hepatitis A virus is shed in the stools of an infected person
during the incubation period of 15 to 45 days before symptoms
occur and during the first week of illness. Blood and other
bodily secretions may also be infectious.
virus does not remain in the body after the infection has
resolved, and there is no carrier state (i.e., a person
who spreads the disease to others but does not become ill).
are some of the symptoms?
Most patients suffer flu-like symptoms including weakness,
headache and fever. Other symptoms may include stomach cramps,
diarrhoea and jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin or
whites of the eyes. This is because the liver is not able
to filter bilirubin, a product of haemoglobin which is usually
measured to screen for or to monitor liver or gall bladder
dysfunction. These symptoms can last for several weeks and
hospitalisation may be required.
and facilities involving close contact with people may be
more susceptible to rapid transmission of Hepatitis A.
A will eventually run its course, and once you've had the
virus, you develop a lifelong immunity to it. Unlike hepatitis
B and hepatitis C, there are no long-term consequences of
having had hepatitis A such as chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis.
However, for people with chronic liver disease such as hepatitis
C, infection with another virus such as hepatitis A can
be a serious health risk. People with hepatitis C are encouraged
to be vaccinated against both hepatitis A and hepatitis
B, as are other patients with chronic liver diseases.
develop more severe symptoms as a result of hepatitis A,
while young children may not show any outward signs of infection
apart from feeling "unwell." Death is rare but
may occur in up to three per cent of older people, usually
with acute liver failure.
do I prevent myself from getting Hepatitis A
Transmission of the virus can be reduced by avoiding unclean
food and water, through hand washing after using the restroom,
and through cleansing if there is any contact with an affected
person's blood, faeces, or any other bodily fluid.
hand washing and good hygienic practices before and after
each diaper change, before serving food, and after using
the restroom can help prevent institutional outbreaks.
there a treatment for hepatitis A?
There is no treatment available for hepatitis A. Like many
viral infections, it will naturally run its course. However,
there is a vaccine that easily and effectively protects
you from hepatitis A. Vaccination is recommended at any
time. The vaccine will prevent you from contracting hepatitis
A while travelling, and from being a potential domestic
source of the virus when you return.
www.liver.ca and Yahoo health
(R) thedailystar.net 2004