Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by Hepatitis A virus. The virus spreads when an uninfected person ingests water or food that is contaminated with faeces of an infected person. The hepatitis A virus infects liver cells and cause inflammation of the liver.
Hepatitis A is not usually serious, but in rare cases it can cause the liver failure or need a transplant. According to Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, total 133,625 cases and 397 deaths were recorded due to hepatitis A and E infections last year.
Among Indian states Bihar has maximum (25,808) number of cases followed by Madhya Pradesh (12,938) and Uttar Pradesh (11,088).
People more prone to be infected with hepatitis A virus include those who inject illegal drugs, have ever been sexual partner of an infected person and those people who live with individuals who already have the disease.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A usually appear around 4 weeks after getting infected by the virus. It is possible you might not have any symptom despites having the disease. But if symptoms of hepatitis A occur they may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle soreness
- Upset stomach
- Dark urine and pale stools
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Feeling tired and generally unwell
- Itchy skin
People who do not have symptoms can still spread the virus as it is very difficult to know who have been exposed to the virus. If you have severe infection it can cause problems for several months.
There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A. The best way to be prevented from this disease is through vaccination. The hepatitis A vaccine is given in 2 dose usually about 6 months apart.
Other preventions that should be done are as follows:
- Always wash hands with clean water and soap after using toilet or changing diapers of the babies
- Use only bottled water for drinking purpose. If bottled water is not available you can install RO purifiers at your home for drinking and cooking purpose. Kent RO is one of the leading brand which provides 100% purification and also retain the natural essential minerals of the water
- Avoid raw or undercooked meat or fish
- Practising good hygiene