What causes hepatitis A?
The hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is spread by contact with an infected individual. The virus is shed in the stool of infected children, therefore dirty diapers and dirty hands are common vehicles for spreading the virus. Infection occurs from 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?
- Young children may have NO symptoms!
- Decreased appetitite
- Abdominal pain
How is hepatitis A diagnosed?
When suspected, hepatitis A infection can be confirmed with a blood test for hepatitis A antibodies. Anti-Hep A IgM means an infection is present. Anti-Hep A IgG means an infection occurred in the past or the child received the vaccine... and is protected from re-infection.
What is the treatment for hepatitis A?
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Symptoms of hepatitis A can be treated with various medications. Hepatitis should resolve without treatment after 1-3 weeks.
Who should get the hepatitis A vaccine?
The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children 1 year of age. Two doses are given at least 6 months apart. If a child is older than 2 years of age and has not received the vaccine, then vaccine may not be necessary. Only those older children with high risk of infection need the vaccine.
What are the possible complications of hepatitis A infection?
Rarely, hepatitis A infection can cause liver failure. This is more likely when there is another chronic illness present.Click here for the CDC recommended vaccine schedule.
Photo - Jaundice cased by Hepatitis A Source: Public Health Image Library([http://phil.cdc.gov/philˍimages/20030110/28/PHILˍ2860ˍlores.jpg]) Used with permission.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 23 June 2009 05:00)