Hepatitis A – Definition, Pathophysiology, Transmission and Prevention

Hepatitis a - definition, pathophysiology, transmission and prevention 1

Definition and Etiology of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is caused by hepatitis virus (HAV). HAV is transmitted through food / drink contaminated droppings (feces) of an infected person enter another person’s mouth. HAV is primarily transmitted through raw or not cooked enough, which is handled by a person with hepatitis A (though perhaps he did not know he was infected).

Drinking water or ice contaminated with feces is another source of infection. HAV can be transmitted through the “rimming” (oral-anal sex). HAV is rarely transmitted through blood to blood.
Hepatitis A is an acute form of hepatitis, then you’ll not cause chronic infection. Once we have been exposed to hepatitis A, we can not be infected again. However, we still can catch another hepatitis virus.

Pathophysiology of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis virus that attacks the liver causing inflammation and infiltrates on hepatocytes by mononuclear cells. This process causes the degeneration and necrosis of liver cells parenchym.

The inflammatory response causes swelling in the liver to block drainage systems, resulting in the destruction of the liver cells. This situation becomes static bile (biliary) and can not be excreted into bile in the gallbladder even into the intestine, thereby increasing the blood as hyperbilirubinemia, in the urine as urobilinogen and skin hapatocelular jaundice. Hepatitis occurs from asymptomatic until the onset of illness with mild symptoms.

Clinical Manifestations of Hepatitis A

Not all people infected with HAV will have symptoms. For example, many babies and young children infected with HAV do not experience any symptoms. Symptoms are more likely to occur in older children, adolescents, and adults.

Symptoms of hepatitis A (and acute hepatitis in general) can include:

  • White Skin and eyes turn yellow (jaundice)
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain right upper
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Urine and feces as tea-colored putty
  • Joint pain

HAV infection can also increase levels of an enzyme made by the liver into the blood above normal.

The immune system requires up to eight weeks to remove HAV of the body. When symptoms occur, generally experienced two to four weeks after infection. Symptoms of hepatitis A usually only one week, but can be more than one month. Less than 15 % of people with hepatitis A develop symptoms of six to nine months. Approximately one in 100 people infected with HAV can experience rapid and severe infections (the so-called “fulminant”), which very rarely can cause liver failure and death.

Transmission of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis disease caused by a virus spread by dirt or feces of patients usually through food (fecal-oral), rarely through blood or through sexual activity, other than that due to the poor level of cleanliness. Infectivity study showed that the greatest risk of transmission of hepatitis A is between 2 weeks before and 1 week after the onset of jaundice. Transmission through the air path is relatively not so important.

Prevention of Hepatitis A

Incidence of hepatitis is often an indication of sanitation and poor personal hygiene. Direct control is shown on the prevention of contaminated food, water, or other resources by feces. Hygiene such as hand washing after a bowel movement or before eating, use of plates and disposable cutlery, and the use of sodium hypochlorite disinfectant of 0.5 % is very important in preventing the spread of HAV during the acute phase of the disease. Excessive conservative measures, such as the use of robes, masks, and gloves, is usually not necessary unless you want to establish direct contact with feces or objects contaminated with feces.

Although we have not received vaccinations against hepatitis A, there are some things we can do to prevent HAV infection :

  • Avoid water, including ice that may be contaminated with dirt.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing food.
  • Wearing a latex barrier for oral – anal sex.


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