Understanding Hepatitis A : Causes, symptoms and Treatment

Understanding Hepatitis A : Causes, symptoms and Treatment

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a worldwide infectious cause of acute hepatitis. The oral-fecal route, contact with tainted food or drink, or close physical contact with an infected individual are the most typical ways that HAV is...

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a worldwide infectious cause of acute hepatitis. The oral-fecal route, contact with tainted food or drink, or close physical contact with an infected individual are the most typical ways that HAV is spread.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infection rates are low in developed countries. However, high-risk groups include drug users, men who have sex with men, travelers to endemic areas, and isolated communities.

Does not cause liver disease. Acute hepatitis usually presents as a self-limiting disease. Fulminant hepatitis is rare. Typical symptoms of acute infection are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite, and fever. Management is supportive care.

Alternative clinical patterns include cholestasis, prolonged, and recurrent disease. Vaccination against HAV is recommended for children aged 12 months and older who are at risk of exposure, such as travelers to endemic countries, homosexual men, illicit drug users, potential occupational exposure, and/or chronic liver disease. and recommended for adults.

Worldwide, improvements in public health policies, sanitation, and education have reduced HAV rates, while other hepatitis virus infections appear to be increasing.


HAV is one of the most common causes of acute hepatitis infection worldwide. WHO estimates that about 1.5 million people are infected with her HAV each year.

Endemic rates are higher in developing countries with low socioeconomic status and inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices. Exposures in these developing countries usually occur during childhood.

In developed countries such as the United States, Canada and Western Europe, infection rates are low. A correlation has been found between socioeconomic factors like income, housing density, sanitation, and water quality and high-risk groups in low-endemic countries, such as injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, travellers to endemic areas, and isolated communities like nursing homes and day care centres.

The advent of vaccination has significantly reduced the incidence of HAV in the United States. The incidence of acute HAV infection decreased by 92% from 12 per 100,000 in 1995 to 1 per 100,000 in 2007. 

Most transmission is person-to-person and confined to close contacts. It is very rare that a blood transfusion caused his hepatitis A.

Risk factors for HAV include

  • Institutionalization.
  • Keep personal contact.
  • Travel abroad.
  • Profession.
  • Parenteral substance abuse.
  • Homosexuality.


Improving sanitation is changing the age group at which hepatitis A is contracted. In recent years, the number of new infections has been declining.

The United States is less prevalent. Mexico has a high prevalence of individuals with anti-HAV antibodies, indicative of past infection. Incidence of acute hepatitis is higher in US states bordering Mexico.

Only 1.2 instances of hepatitis A are now reported per 100,000 people, a 90% decrease in the disease's stated incidence. The highest drops are observed in states where systematic immunisation for children began in 1999. The average age of those who have hepatitis A has risen during the previous 40 years.

Most cases of HAV infection account for individuals in high-risk populations. These groups include foreign travelers to developing countries, gay men, childcare workers, institutionalized individuals, and the poor.

Grocery stores are a rare source of infection in the United States. Almost any food can be contaminated with her HAV.


African, Asian, and South American countries with limited resources have the greatest rates of HAV, where evidence of past infection is almost universal. Acquisition often occurs in childhood and is usually asymptomatic.


I have no sexual preferences. Most common near helpers, gays, and sewers.


Symptomatic disease and undesirable consequences increase with age. Mortality from fulminant liver failure increases with age.


In 1973 he introduced his HAV for the first time by Feinstone et al. It has been identified and placed in the family Picornaviridae and the genus Hepatovirus. It is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus that replicates primarily in hepatocytes.

Animal findings showing HAV antigen in intestinal crypt epithelial cells and cells of the small intestine's lamina propria imply that replication may also take place at these locations. Following oral intake, the virus is taken Hepatitis A Virus Antibody Total up from the gastrointestinal tract and HAV particles are transported to the basolateral membrane of hepatocytes via the portal circulation.

Hepatocyte damage in acute HAV infection is mediated by several immune mechanisms. Patients with acute HAV infection have been shown to exhibit virus-specific T cell-mediated release of cytotoxic interferon gamma.

Moreover, recent mouse models demonstrate HAV-induced hepatocyte apoptosis and inflammation associated with innate immune responses. Humoral immune responses are involved in diagnostic serological assays. After replication in the liver, the bile and faeces both include HAV excretion.

Viral concentrations in stool are highest and most contagious two weeks before the onset of jaundice. Most people are no longer contagious 1 week after the onset of jaundice, and defecation and viremia decrease.


  • IgM (immunoglobulin M) antibodies
  • IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies

Acute hepatitis A is diagnosed by a serological test that detects HAV-specific immunoglobulin (IgM) antibodies in her blood CBC . Additional tests may include reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect viral RNA. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) anti-HAV develops shortly after infection and persists for life.

Blood tests show mild lymphocytosis and a normal prothrombin time. Increased prothrombin time should raise suspicion of serious liver damage, including the risk of encephalopathy. Hepatitis A is Prothrombin Time associated with increased aspartate aminotransferase, which returns to normal after 4 to 6 months. The bilirubin level is also elevated and, if persistent, suggests cholestatic liver disease.

Ultrasonography is not done in the usual cases of HAV.

Treatment / administration

Most patients with acute, uncomplicated HAV infection do not require specific treatment beyond supportive care. The symptoms may not completely go away for weeks or months.

In rare cases of fulminant hepatitis due to HAV infection, liver transplantation can be life-saving. Extrahepatic complications are routinely treated.

According to WHO, the most effective way to prevent HAV infection is to improve hygiene, food safety and immunization practices. Inactivated single-antigen vaccinations against hepatitis A (HAVRIX and VAQTA) and hepatitis A and B (TWINRIX) are both offered in the United States.

Children 12 months and older, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, should, travelers to endemic countries, homosexuals, people who use illicit drugs, people in occupational hazards, people with clotting factor disorders or chronic liver disease recommended vaccination for Standard adult dosing recommends administration of two doses of the vaccine 6 to 12 months apart.

These vaccines are highly efficacious where seroconversion rates approach 100%. Immunoglobulin was the sole available medication up until recently for post-exposure prophylaxis against HAV.

The CDC now advises the vaccination over immunoglobulin for healthy individuals aged 1 to 40 years who have been exposed to HAV. This is because animal studies and clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of post-exposure immunisation with an inactivated HAV vaccine.

Due to the likelihood of a more severe clinical presentation and the paucity of data supporting vaccine efficacy in people 41 years of age and older, immunoglobulin delivery is chosen.

 Children under 12 months, people with chronic liver disease, and people with weakened immune systems should also receive immunoglobulin.

Differential diagnosis

  • Alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Other viral hepatitis (B, C, D, E).
  • Autoimmune hepatitis.


  • Prolonged cholestasis.
  • Acute renal failure.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis.


Outcomes in most HAV patients are excellent. In contrast to other viral hepatitis infections, long-term immunity is typical after infection, and recurrence of symptoms is uncommon. Death is rare but can occur in older people and in people with underlying liver disease.

About 100 people die each year from HAV in the United States. Rarely, children with fulminant disease undergo liver transplantation. Age is the key indicator of prognosis. Your likelihood of experiencing negative outcomes and experiences increases with age. Long-term effects are very rare.