Hepatitis A (Hep-Ah-Ty-Tiss)


About Hepatitis A (Hep-Ah-Ty-Tiss)

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A can affect anyone. Vaccines are available for long-term prevention of HAV infection in persons 1 year of age and older.

How is Hepatitis A transmitted?

Transmission can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through ingestion of contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.

Why should I take the Hepatitis A vaccination?

Many cases of travel-related Hepatitis A occur in travelers to developing countries. While they are much less in developed countries, community-wide outbreaks may still occur. The risk for infection increases with duration of travel and is highest for those who live in or visit rural areas, trek in back-country areas, or frequently eat or drink in settings of poor sanitation.

Currently, there is no specific treatment available for persons with Hepatitis A. As Hepatitis A is one of the most common vaccine-preventable infections acquired during travel, we highly recommend the vaccine to be taken.

Points to Note:

Laboratory diagnostic tests are not perfect and are not 100% accurate

  • We do not have a test for every disease or virus but most of those pathogens that are of public health importance or have long term implications on your health can be tested
  • No one single test can be used with absolute certainty to diagnose a disease. Often, we depend on a combination of tests to make a diagnosis
  • Sometimes, we have to resort to trial treatment or empiric treatment if investigative tests are inconclusive. If the patient makes a therapeutic response and feels better, we have achieved our goal
  • In PUO, we are looking for treatable causes and to rule out sinister causes eg. malignancies so that we do not miss opportunities for early treatment or intervention

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