Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is primarily spread when an uninfected (and unvaccinated) person ingests food or water that is contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. The disease is closely associated with unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene.
Symptoms: The incubation period of hepatitis A is usually 14–28 days. Symptoms of hepatitis A range from mild to severe, and can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and dark-coloured urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Causes: Hepatitis A usually get it when you eat or drink something that's got the virus in it. It's the least risky type because it almost always gets better on its own. It doesn't lead to long-term inflammation of your liver.
Diagnosis: Hepatitis A is not clinically distinguishable from other types of acute viral hepatitis. Specific diagnosis is made by the detection of HAV-specific IgM and IgG antibodies in the blood. Additional tests include reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect the hepatitis A virus RNA, but may require specialised laboratory facilities. Treatment:Therapy is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhoea.
statistics: The total number of reported cases of acute hepatitis A in Canada in each year from 1990 to 1999. There are more reported cases in males. The peak rates in 1996 likely reflect the outbreaks in Quebec (280 cases/100,000 population) and Ontario (420 cases/100,000 population). In addition, the peak seen in 1991 and 1992 could be attributed to the clusters of cases that occurred in those two years in Montreal and Toronto. From January to mid-November 1991, 389 cases of hepatitis A were reported in metropolitan Montreal, representing a fourfold increase in incidence rate compared with the rate from 1984 to 1989.