It is estimated that about three Percent of the world’s population carries the hepatitis virus. Viruses reproduce with the help of the host cell, they don’t contain ribosomes, cytoplasm and membrane-surrounded organelles. Hepatitis is caused by infected blood, similar to the HIV virus. There are at least six different hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, E, F. However, I am going to focus mainly on the most common types (A, B and C). Type C is the riskiest virus. It leads to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. On the other hand, hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted sexually through blood and other body fluids, it can be prevented with vaccination and also with condoms. Hepatitis A infects the human liver and causes human illnesses. Fortunately, it is totally preventable and the less dangerous than all the others.
HEPATITIS A (HAV)
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A virus or “HAV” is one of five human hepatitis viruses that primarily infect the human liver. It can cause human illness and death in the most extreme cases depending if the person have had previous immune system diseases or poor liver function. It is heat stable and can survive for up to a month at ambient temperatures in the environment. However, it is unusual in nations with development sanitation systems such as United States. Nevertheless, it continues to occur here. •
How is Hepatitis A Transmitted?
Hepatitis is a contagious disease that is spread almost exclusively through fecal-oral contact, generally from person to person, or via contaminated food or water. It also may be spread by household contact among families or roommates, sexual contact, by ingestion of raw or undercooked fruits and vegetables or shellfish ( like oysters), and by direct inoculation from persons sharing illicit drugs. Food contaminated with the virus is the most common vehicle transmitting hepatitis A. The peak time of infectivity is during the 2 weeks before illness begins. •
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A may cause no symptoms at all when is contracted, specifically in children. In fact, patients only know they were infected by getting a blood test later in life. The symptoms start about 30 days after contracting the virus. Typically, patients start suffering from muscle aches, headache, loose appetite, abdominal discomfort, fever, dark urine and yellowing of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes called jaundice; this occurs because bile flows poorly through the liver and backs up in to the blood. The incubation period of hepatitis A is 15-50 days, with a mean of about 30 days. Early manifestations of the disease include fever, intense dissatisfaction, anorexia, vomiting, extreme abdominal discomfort, and persistent and disabling fatigue. Unfortunately, the severity of illness associated with hepatitis A increases with age. It is therefore well accepted that the need for rest is best determined by the patient’s own perception of the severity of the fatigue. The time to full recovery usually takes 2 months, but most patients show complete clinical and biochemical recovery within 3-6 months from the initial presence of the illness. About 2 persons in 1000 with symptomatic acute hepatitis A will die. (1) •
How is Hepatitis A Diagnosed?
All human hepatitis viruses cause very similar illnesses. Therefore, doctors can not tell by symptoms or signs if a given individual is suffering from hepatitis A. Fortunately, science have developed excellent blood tests for antibodies. Which are widely available and help doctors to accurately diagnose hepatitis A. •
How can Hepatitis A prevented?
Hepatitis A is totally preventable and it does not occur if responsible Preventive measures are taken, and also with the help of a vaccine that became available in 1995, licensed for individuals aged 2 and older. For example, food handlers must be taught to always wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and...
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