Oct 29, 2013
what causes the hepatitis A ?
| Response from Dr. Taylor
Hepatitis A is an RNA virus spread by the fecal-oral route; this means that stool/feces/poop, whatever you feel comfortable calling it, gets ingested (eaten).
Symptoms range from none, to mild diarrhea, to severe diarrhea, belly pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and/or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Hepatitis A typically goes away on its own without any specific medications and without causing too much trouble in our bodies and does not cause a chronic, or permanent infection. The people who are at greatest risk of getting very sick from hepatitis A are people with underlying liver disease, such as hepatitis C virus infection.
Hepatitis A is more common is less resourced regions where there is inadequate sanitation. We can catch hepatitis A if we live or travel to a part of the world where hepatitis A is common; come into contact with a person with hepatitis A through living together or having sex; or are exposed through an outbreak in which food or water becomes contaminated. Hepatitis A can spread quickly among young children, for example at daycare centers. As the virus replicates in the body, there is a phase in which it is in our blood; therefore hepatitis A can be spread via injection drug use. It is not spread from a pregnant woman to a developing fetus.
Hepatitis A can be prevented by a safe, effective vaccine. Other preventive measures include hand washing and having a safe water supply that is not contaminated with feces.
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