The ABC’S of hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the HCV virus.
HCV is transmitted by contact with feces of an infected person. We can contract this virus, in particular:
- by drinking water or food contaminated by feces. This risk is particularly significant in tropical countries. The consumption of molluscs (i.e.: mussels, oysters) caught in feces-contaminated water is a frequent source of infection in tropical zones;
- by having contact with an infected person, especially during sexual intercourse (including oral-genital intercourses);
- by having contact with objects or food that have been handled by an infected person.
Even if not sick, an infected person can transmit the virus.
Infection does not always appear with overt symptoms. The classical symptoms of hepatitis are: fatigue (that can persist several weeks), fever, nausea, headaches, loss of appetite, jaundice and abdominal malaise. Hospitalization is sometimes necessary.
Between 15 to 50 days can elapse (an average of 30 days) between the entrance of the virus into the body and the start of symptoms. In young children, the infection is often asymptomatic, while 75% of infected adults will have symptoms. The risk of contracting a serious illness increases with age. Between 0.1% and 0.3% of infected persons will die. Recovery is usually spontaneous.