Hepatitis A – United States
Hepatitis A outbreak in North Carolina passed 1,000 cases.
63% of cases have required hospitalization. 16 people have died from Hepatitis A infection.
Health officials recommend the Hepatitis A vaccine to prevent infection in those at risk.
Photo: Micrograph of ground glass hepatocytes, as seen in a chronic hepatitis B infection.
Hepatitis A is an infectious disease of the liver caused by Hepatovirus A. Many cases have few or no symptoms, especially in the young.
When symptoms occur, they typically last 8 weeks and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, fever, and abdominal pain. Acute liver failure may rarely occur, with this being more common in the elderly.
It is usually spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with infected feces. Undercooked or raw Shellfish are common sources. It may also be spread through close contact with an infectious person.
The hepatitis A vaccine is effective for prevention. Some countries recommend it routinely for children and those at higher risk.
No specific treatment is available, with rest and medications for nausea or diarrhea recommended on an as-needed basis. Infections usually resolve completely and without ongoing liver disease.
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