Hepatitis A: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is primarily spread when an uninfected person ingests food or water that is contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. The disease is closely associated with a lack of safe water, inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene.
Hepatitis A

Recovery Time

Recovery from symptoms of this infection may be slow and may take several weeks or months. Therapy is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhea. The good news is that once you recover from Hepatitis A, you are immune for life.


Diagnosis is done by physical examination and some blood tests.
Blood tests may show:
  • Liver function test: this is a type of blood test that can be used to check how well your liver is working
  • Ultrasound scan: high frequency sound waves are used to build-up an image of the inside of your liver
  • Liver biopsy: a small sample of liver tissue is removed and checked for any problems

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is the inflammation of the liver caused by Hepatitis A virus. It is associated with low grade fever, nausea/ vomiting, abdominal pain, cola coloured urine and Jaundice.

Q2.  How do I get Hepatitis A?
You get Hepatitis A by ingestion of food and water contaminated with Hepatitis A virus. It spreads by feco-oral route.

Q3.  What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?
Fat free pure carbohydrate diet, control fever with Ibuprofen, rehydration if necessary and medicines to protect the liver from further damage from virus are the mainstay for the treatment of Hepatitis A.

Q4.  How long does it take to cure?
Hepatitis A is a self-limiting disease. It takes about 10-14 days for complete recovery with adequate care. Some people may have prolonged illness.

Q5.  How do I prevent Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable disease.
You should maintain  proper personal hygiene, as it spreads from person to person through feco-oral route. Avoid eating food and drinking water which are not hygienic.
Get Vaccinated if you are travelling to countries where sanitation if poor.

Q6.  What are the complications of Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis is a self-limiting disease and usually resolves without much complication with adequate care. Proper care should be taken to prevent the spread of the disease as the person with Hepatitis A is highly infectious.

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