Hepatitis is a liver disease, with inflammatory, infectious, and transmissible character, which consists in destroying liver cells.
Hepatitis A is called the “disease of the dirty hands”, being transmitted mainly through personal contact, by contaminated food and water.
Hepatitis A has an incubation period ranging between 15 and 45 days.
The first phase, simultaneous with the onset of this liver disorder, is characterized by nonspecific symptoms of hepatitis A, such as fatigue, weakness, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and, more rarely, fever followed by headaches, diarrhoea and skin eruptions. 1-2 weeks after the onset of liver disease, jaundice can also occur.
During the two weeks preceding the appearance of jaundice, the degree of contagion is the highest; because virus concentration is the highest (this decreases after the occurrence of jaundice).
The presence of symptoms of hepatitis A depends on the age of patients. In the case of children under 6 years, 70% of infections are asymptomatic; normally, jaundice is not associated with the disease. This percentage is not maintained in the case of children over 6 years, where the infection is usually associated with symptoms, jaundice occurring to over 70% of patients.
In most cases, symptoms of hepatitis A last for less than two months, but there is a percentage of 10%-15% of people infected with hepatitis A who have experienced a prolonged illness, but which did not last however more than 6 months.
Virus becomes inactive at temperatures higher than 85Â°C, but in normal environment, hepatitis A can survive outside the human body for a couple of months.
If someone has been infected with hepatitis A in the past, he can no longer get infected once again, nor can he transmit it to others. Once the body is healed of hepatitis A, it develops antibodies that can protect it from future infection with the same virus.