Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a virus which affects the liver. Occasionally it is severe enough to cause liver failure, with 2% of cases in adults being fatal. Children often have no symptoms.

Symptoms

Fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach discomfort, the skin and the whites of the eyes become yellow.

How do you catch hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A infection usually occurs through eating or drinking food and water contaminated with human waste or sewage. It can also be spread from one person to another and by people with poor personal hygiene who handle or prepare food.

Incubation period

Average of 28 days but can be up to 50 days.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is confirmed by a blood test.

Prevention

A hepatitis A vaccine gives a high level of protection. Care should be taken with personal hygiene. Follow advice from the travel health nurse regarding foods that should be avoided (especially shellfish) and do not drink the local water.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment available. Hospital care may be necessary if the illness becomes more serious.