Some infected patients may not suffer any illmess, especially children. Symptoms and signs include :
Most people recover in under 2 months, but in a few, the illness may persist up to 6 months. Some patients may experience a symptomatic relapse 2 - 3 months after the initial illness.
Hepatitis A is a self-limiting disease. However, in less than 1% of patients, largely in the elderly, the disease may progress to acute liver failure (fulminant hepatitis ) and death. Unlike hepatitis B and C, long term complications does not occur with the hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is prevalent in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions. Most infections are spread by food or drinks contaminated by faeculent materials, either through poor personal hygiene or by sewage eg. contaminated raw shell fish. Rarely hepatitis A can be transmitted by intravenous drug usage, blood products and amongst practising homosexual men.
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