Researchers and medics are still looking for effective Hepatitis A Prophylaxis that will reduce the rising cases of people who are affected by the liver diseases. The disease is communicable but may not give out any symptoms and this makes it difficult to diagnose and treat.
Hepatitis A is a troublesome disease that mainly affects the liver and is caused by small hepatotropic viruses that fall under Picornaviridae family. Similar to other virus in this category, the symptoms are not always visible and a person who may be infected by the Hepatitis virus may be unaware.
The symptoms will be mild or non-existent in children but are more pronounced in adults and will come out as fever, abdominal discomfort, malaise, or jaundice. The symptoms may be experienced for only a day or for several months depending on the severity as well as immune system.
Hepatitis A is known to be highly transmissible and is easily passed on to other people through saliva, food, water, and sexual contact among other methods. The period of incubation is normally between 28 and 30 days with the range spanning between 15 and 50 days. In most cases, the condition is non-infectious if one week has elapsed after jaundice but it is most infectious in the second half of the period of incubation where there are usually no symptoms (asymptomatic).
In 15% of the cases, hepatitis can relapse or prolong for as long as one year without any chronic infection occurring .The fatality ratio per case is usually low at about 0.1 to 0.3% but can increase to a tune of 1.8% especially in adults who are aged 50 years and above, or individuals whose case is chronic. The risk factor increases in the following situations, men who have sex with men, individuals who inject drugs, consumption of illicit drugs, handling contaminated products, as well as homeless people.
A key challenge to Hepatitis A Prophylaxis is its high resistance against the environment as well as the common methods used in food preservation, for instance freezing or acidification. The virus will still remain active though in an incubated state and will be transmitted through food.
There are several methods of diagnosing the disease with the popular technique being to look for anti-HAV antibodies which can be discovered from 4 weeks to 6 months from onset of the infection. At the moment, no pharmacological cure is available and patients will recover spontaneously. Some key steps in Hepatitis a Prophylaxis include adequate housing, proper sanitation, good personal hygiene practices, proper hand hygiene, immunization, administering vaccines to infected individual, and contact tracing.