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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A: Introduction

Hepatitis A is a form of hepatitis, a group of serious diseases that cause inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is an infectious form of hepatitis that is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is one of the most common forms of hepatitis.

The liver is a vital organ, and normal functioning of the liver is crucial to health and life. Hepatitis A can reduce the liver's ability to do its vital job in helping the body to fight infection, stop bleeding, clear the blood of toxins, store energy, produce healthy blood, digest food, and remove waste. In rare cases, hepatitis A can be fatal.

The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of people who are infected with the virus. Hepatitis A is spread by having close contact with or consumed food or water that has been contaminated with infected feces. Hepatitis is most common in developing countries and in places where sanitation is poor, such as in refugee camps.

General symptoms common to hepatitis A include flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches and jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Complications can be serious, even life-threatening, and include the development of liver failure. For more information about additional symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of hepatitis A.

Making a diagnosis of hepatitis A includes performing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. This includes questions about risk factors for contracting hepatitis A, such as living in or travelling to places with poor sanitation.

Diagnostic blood tests include tests that can check for the antibodies that the body makes to fight hepatitis A. Liver function tests are blood tests that can help to determine the level of severity of hepatitis A by checking level of functioning of the liver and if there is any damage to the liver. Imaging tests that create a picture of the liver include an ultrasound, CT, and/or a nuclear liver scan.

It is possible that a diagnosis of hepatitis A can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be vague or there may be no symptoms in some people. In addition, symptoms of hepatitis A can be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information about diseases and conditions that can mimic hepatitis A, refer to misdiagnosis of hepatitis A.

There is no cure for Hepatitis A, and treatment simply includes rest and ensuring good nutrition. For serious cases, especially if there is liver damage or liver failure, hospitalization may be necessary. Treatment in the hospital may include medications and other diagnostic testing and treatment. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of hepatitis A. ...more »

Hepatitis A: The term hepatitis A (HA) or type A viral hepatitis has replaced all previous designations: infectious hepatitis, epidemic hepatitis, epidemic jaundice, ... more about Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A: Contagious viral infection of the liver. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Hepatitis A is available below.

Hepatitis A: Symptoms

Symptoms of hepatitis A can differ between individuals depending on age, medical history, the presence of complications and general health.

Many children do not experience any symptoms of Hepatitis A. Adults generally develop flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches and weakness. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, also occurs. Other ...more symptoms »

Hepatitis A: Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for hepatitis A uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are individualized to best fit the patient's age, medical history, and type and stage of the disease. The goal of treatment is to stop or lessen damage to the liver and minimize and quickly treat any complications, such as such as liver failure.

The first step in ...more treatments »

Hepatitis A: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of hepatitis A may be overlooked or delayed because in its early stages there may be no symptoms, especially in children. In addition, symptoms, such as flu-like symptoms, fever, poor appetite, fatigue, and weakness, may be similar to symptoms of other disease and conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, flu, ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Treatments for Hepatitis A

  • Bed rest
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoidance of alcohol and medications that may worsen hepatic function, or rely on the liver for metabolism
  • Supportive therapy - fluids, rest, hospital if sever nausea, vomiting and dehydration
  • Public health measures to avoid spread of disease
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Hepatitis A:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A: Related Patient Stories

Hepatitis A: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Hepatitis A.

Diagnostic Tests for Hepatitis A

Test for Hepatitis A in your own home

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Hepatitis A: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Hepatitis A:

Causes of Hepatitis A

Read more about causes of Hepatitis A.

More information about causes of Hepatitis A:

Disease Topics Related To Hepatitis A

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Hepatitis A

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more likely to be an more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, more »

Chronic liver disease often undiagnosed: One study reported that 50% of patients with a chronic liver disease remain undiagnosed by their primary physician. The reasons are multifactorial. Possible conditions include more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive more »

Hepatitis A: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Hepatitis A

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Hepatitis A:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Hepatitis A, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Hepatitis A: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Hepatitis A

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Hepatitis A

Medical research articles related to Hepatitis A include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Hepatitis A: Animations

Prognosis for Hepatitis A

Prognosis for Hepatitis A: Less than 0.4% of the reported cases in the U.S. are fatal. These rare deaths usually occur in the elderly. (Source: FDA Bad Bug Book) ... Hepatitis A usually resolves on its own over several weeks. (Source: excerpt from Viral Hepatitis A to E and Beyond: NIDDK)

Research about Hepatitis A

Visit our research pages for current research about Hepatitis A treatments.

Clinical Trials for Hepatitis A

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Hepatitis A include:

Prevention of Hepatitis A

Prevention information for Hepatitis A has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Hepatitis A.

Statistics for Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A: Broader Related Topics

Hepatitis A Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Hepatitis A, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Hepatitis A

The term hepatitis A (HA) or type A viral hepatitis has replaced all previous designations: infectious hepatitis, epidemic hepatitis, epidemic jaundice, catarrhal jaundice, infectious icterus, Botkins disease, and MS-1 hepatitis. (Source: FDA Bad Bug Book)

Definitions of Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis caused by Hepatovirus (Hepatitis A virus); it can be transmitted through fecal contamination of food or water. - (Source - Diseases Database)

An acute but benign form of viral hepatitis caused by an RNA virus that does not persist in the blood serum and is usually transmitted by ingesting food or drink that is contaiminated with fecal matter - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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