It is a viral condition (RNA virus of the Enterovirus family). That is the reason why antibiotics cannot treat Hepatitis A.
• It is transmitted through fecal oral route that is when one ingests food or water that is infected by the virus.
• It mostly occurs in areas that are characterized by poor environmental sanitation and personal hygiene.
• It can also be transmitted through oral-anal sex.
• Infected food handlers can serve as a conduit for the spread of this infection.
• It has an incubation period of 15-30 days.
• It presents with headache, abdominal pain, anorexia (poor appetite), diarrhea and Jaundice of skin and eyes (yellowish coloration) in late stages.
• The symptoms are more severe in children and elderly patients.
• It is treated symptomatically that is treatment is aimed at countering all the symptoms and making the patient comfortable.
• The patient should be encouraged to drink a lot of fluids to replenish the one lost through diarrhea.
• Nutrition care is key to recovery of this patients. They should be encouraged to eat small but frequent meals to avoid wasting which tend to occur during acute stage.
• Hepatitis A infection is mostly treated as an outpatient unless the symptoms are severe.
• The patient is able to achieve full recovery without developing carrier state. It does not predispose one to other form of Hepatitis.
• Vaccination is recommended especially to all medical personnel and when one is travelling in regions whose sanitation is wanting.
• Hand washing before eating and after visiting the toilet is the most effective preventive measure.
• Proper preparation of food especially salad.
• Proper disposal of fecal matter.
• Chlorination of water especially during outbreaks.
Author: Eliud Kigotho Maina : KRN, HTC Counsellor.