Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease. A liver inflammation known as hepatitis A can result in a mild to severe sickness. Lack of access to clean water, inadequate sanitation, and unhygienic living conditions all increase the risk of contracting hepatitis A. When a person unintentionally consumes the virus from objects, food, or drinks that have been contaminated by minute amounts of stool from an infected person, it is mainly transferred through close, physical contact with an infected person. Fatigue, a loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, and jaundice are among the symptoms that most adults with hepatitis A experience as well as yellow skin or eyes, dark urine, light-colored bowel movements. Most individuals under the age of six do not exhibit symptoms. Even if they do not exhibit any symptoms, a person with hepatitis A can spread the infection to others. Hepatitis A typically causes symptoms to continue for many weeks, although most patients fully recover and do not sustain liver damage. Hepatitis A can, in rare instances, result in liver failure and death; those who are older than 50 and those who have other liver illnesses are more likely to experience this. The hepatitis A vaccine has significantly reduced the prevalence of this illness in the US. Hepatitis A outbreaks among the unvaccinated continue to occur, though.
Hepatitis A vaccine is also recommended for the following people:
- Travelers abroad
- Males who engage sexual with other men
- Individuals that use drugs through injection or non-injection
- People who are at risk for infection because of the nature of their work
- Individuals who are homeless
- Individuals with HIV
- Chronic liver disease patients
- Those who expects to have close contact with an international care recipient
Children should receive the hepatitis A vaccine twice:
- 12 to 23 months of age for the initial dosage
- At least 6 months must pass between the first and second doses.
Infants between the ages of 6 and 11 months who are traveling outside of the US and for whom hepatitis A vaccination is advised should receive one dose of the vaccine. For continued protection, these kids should still receive 2 further doses at the advised ages. Older kids and teenagers, ages 2 to 18, who have never received a vaccination should do so.
The vaccine is also available for adults who have never received a hepatitis A vaccination but would like to be protected against it. The fecal-oral route is the main way that the hepatitis A virus spreads, and it occurs when an uninfected person consumes food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person. Families may experience this through contaminated hands when an infected person prepares meals for the family. Even if they don’t happen often, waterborne outbreaks are frequently linked to untreated or sewage contaminated water. Although casual contact between individuals does not spread the virus, close physical contact with an infectious person can.