- Hepatitis-A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.
- It is spread by fecal-oral (or stool to mouth) transmission when a person ingests food or drink contaminated by an infected person's stool.
- The disease is closely associated with poor sanitation and a lack of personal hygiene habits, such as hand-washing.
- Epidemics can be explosive in growth and cause significant economic losses: 300 000 were affected in one Shanghai outbreak in 1988.
- Improved sanitation and the Hepatitis A vaccine are the most effective ways to combat the disease.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is spread when an uninfected (or unvaccinated) person eats or drinks something contaminated by the stool of an HAV-infected person: this is called fecal - oral transmission. The disease is closely associated with inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene. Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A infection does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause debilitating symptoms.
Hepatitis A occurs sporadically and in epidemics worldwide, with a tendency for cyclic recurrences. Worldwide, HAV infections account for an estimated 1.4 million cases annually. Epidemics related to contaminated food or water can erupt explosively, such as an epidemic in Shanghai in 1988 that affected about 300 000 people.
The disease can wreak significant economic and social consequences in communities. It can take weeks or months for people recovering from the illness to return to work, school or daily life. The impact on food establishments identified with the virus, and local productivity in general, can be substantial.
Symptoms of Hepatitis - A
The symptoms of Hepatitis A range from mild to severe, and can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and dark-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
Adults have signs and symptoms of illness more often than children, the severity of disease and mortality increases in older age groups. Infected children under six years of age do not usually experience noticeable symptoms, and only 10% develop jaundice.
Among older children and adults, infection usually causes more severe symptoms, with jaundice occurring in more than 70% of cases. Most people recover in several weeks - or sometimes months - without complication.
HAV is usually spread from person to person when an uninfected person ingests food or beverages that have been contaminated with the stool of a person with the virus. Blood borne transmission of HAV occurs, but is much less common. Waterborne outbreaks, though infrequent, are usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water. Casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Treatment of Hepatitis-A
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Recovery from symptoms following infection may be slow and take several weeks or months. Therapy is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhea.
Improved sanitation and Hepatitis A immunization are the most effective ways to combat the disease. Adequate supplies of safe-drinking water and proper disposal of sewage within communities, combined with personal hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing, reduce the spread of HAV.
Planning for large-scale immunization programs should involve careful economic evaluations and consider alternative or additional prevention methods, such as better sanitation and health education for improved hygiene.
Whether or not to include the vaccine in routine childhood immunizations depends on the local context, including the level of risk for children.
Homeopathic Treatment of Hepatitis - A
Homeopathic treatment can help in delaying the complications and the disease process is kept under check with symptomatic relief. The general health is improved very well on these homeopathic medicines without any side-effects. Taking homeopathic medicines for longer duration helps improve immunological levels and the disease can be kept under control.
homeopathy is strongly recommended in cases of hepatitis. These medicines have proved the efficacy in treating a wide range of viral infections. Homeopathic medicines help relieving the symptoms, after long taking immunizations.