Hepatitis A is an inflammation to the liver due to a viral infection caused by the virus Hepatitis A. This week on Wednesday I buried my 3-year-old nephew. He died after a short illness that lasted close to three weeks and only a day after the correct diagnosis. That was hepatitis A.
Read also: How to lower your High blood pressure without medicine
Hepatitis A Prevalence
It is a rare infection lately due to vaccines and the ability to administer treatment however it can easily go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to its early symptoms which present as normal gastrointestinal tract infections which we mostly associate with bacterial infections.
Hepatitis A Causes and transmission
Hepatitis A is usually transmitted oral fecal that is through intake of contaminated food and untreated water. It is usually associated with poor sanitation, poor personal hygiene, oral sex and unsafe water and food. Direct contact with an infected person can also lead to spread and cross infection from one person to another.
Hepatitis A usually recovers fully in a larger population and leads to a lifelong immunity. Unlike Hepatitis B and C, Hepatitis A does lead to chronic liver disease however it can lead to fulminant hepatitis which is acute Liver disease. This is where the hepatocytes are attacked by the virus hence most liver functions start failing.
It starts with a decrease of the liver functions in synthesizing capacity and this happens within eight weeks since onset. The liver function tests will fail at this point with elevated Bilirubin levels leading to yellowing of palms, eyes, and feet soles. This eventually leads to inability of glucose to be converted to glycogen by glucagon due to the liver failing. The blood sugar levels usually shoot very high and any attempt to bring them down may fail at this point and lead to death.
Hepatitis A is very common in low income countries and countries with a younger population. However, infection does not always lead to disease. Infections are likely to happen in groups at high risk levels such as children, adolescents, men who have sex with men, people who abuse intravenous drugs and people who have moved or travelled to countries with high infections.
Read also: Is mental health to blame for break-ups in marriage?
Hepatitis A Symptoms
Hepatitis A usually presents with signs and symptoms that are common and sometimes maybe associated with other bacterial infections. These are like, fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea abdominal discomfort, Rhabdomyolysis that is dark colored urine due destruction of red blood cells, and eventually jaundice. However, all these signs and symptoms do not always present.
The disease has the ability to kill and therefore early diagnosis should be done to avoid such occurrences.