Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is very common in developing countries especially where sanitation is poor.
The main routes of transmission are through contaminated food or water and close personal contact. It can also be transmitted sexually through oro-anal sexual contact (rimming) especially in men who have sex with men. Another group that can be affected is injection drug users.
It usually takes between 15 and 45 days for symptoms to develop following exposure although most children and around half of adults will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, with little or no jaundice. Early symptoms of the infection can easily be mistaken for influenza.
Flu like symptoms (malaise, muscle pains) often with some right upper abdominal pain. This phase usually lasts about 3-10 days.
This is followed by the icteric phase where you get jaundice (yellow skin), nausea and fatigue which usually lasts up to 13 weeks.
The infection is self-limiting and usually doesn’t cause any lasting damage although the acute phase can be very debilitating.
We can perform a simple blood test to dedect the infection.
Treatment is only available for the relief of symptoms of hepatitis A. If you have developed any of the mentioned symptoms: Call us 0845 372 9990 to book a consultation with our doctor today!
There is a hepatitis A vaccine that can protect you against getting infected with the virus. The vaccination is recommended for men who have sex with men and travellers to developing countries. The vaccinations consist of 2 injections roughly 6 months apart which should give you about 10 years protection.