Hepatitis A: What is it and how is it generated?

Hepatitis A: What is it and how is it generated?
Hepatitis A: What is it and how is it generated?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Inflammation is a swelling that occurs when body tissues become injured or infected. This can affect the proper functioning of your liver and there are several types.

Now, hepatitis A is a type of viral hepatitis. It causes an acute, or short-lived, infection. In general, this means that people get better without treatment after a few weeks. It is particularly common among children and young adults.

Hepatitis A is caused by an enteric-transmitted RNA virus that, in older children and adults, causes symptoms typical of viral hepatitis, including anorexia, malaise, and jaundice. 

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Not all people with hepatitis A have symptoms. However, if you do have symptoms, they may include the following:

  • Unusual tiredness and weakness.
  • Sudden nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the upper right side below the lower ribs, which is above the liver
  • Clay-colored or gray stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Intense itching

These symptoms may be relatively mild and disappear after a few weeks. However, it is necessary to consult a specialist and check that everything is in order because hepatitis A results in a serious illness that lasts for many months.

Specific ways the hepatitis A virus can be spread:

  • By eating food handled by someone who has the virus and who did not wash their hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom.
  • Drinking contaminated water.
  • Eating food washed in contaminated water.
  • Eating raw shellfish from contaminated sewage.
  • Being in close contact with a person who has the virus, even if they do not have symptoms.
  • Having sexual contact with someone who has the virus.

The virus is spread when infected feces, even in small amounts, enters another person’s mouth (fecal-oral transmission). It can live on surfaces for several months, and is not spread through casual contact, sneezing or coughing.

Oriana Arenas, redacción

Pasante de contenidos Fundahígado América

Eugenia Jiménez Alvaréz, revisión

Asistente a la coordinación Fundahígado América

Licenciada en Ciencias Biomédicas

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Jin received a segment of his father´s liver in May 2015.