Hepatitis A – An overview

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is one of the most common causes of acute hepatitis. In 1973 this virus has been isolated by Purcell and since then it has this illness has become more apparent due to all the application of accurate serologic investigations that started in the 1980s, the clinical manifestations and the epidemiology. Due to the diagnostic techniques and improved reporting the past years individual cases have risen while in comparison the frequency of the virus as being an acute cause of hepatitis A has minimized in western societies.


Also there has been a decrease in cases of high-risk illnesses with the help of public health policies, improvements in hygiene and sanitation, passive immunization and vaccination. A decline in her immunity was produced by the reduced encounters with the virus hepatitis A from a very young age and at the same time it completely changed the illnesses epidemiology thus the mean age occurrence of the diseases that is cause by this virus A infection has decreased in Western societies.

There are risks for future potential epidemics but at the same time the improved implemented immunization practices and new health policies will surely minimize this threat. The unique thing about hepatitis A virus is that studies have shown that only humans can be a barer for this kind of illness, cases in animals never been registered. This discovery made it an important chartered disease thus securing at least the potential a crisis epidemic to a very low level without carriers within the worlds and at the same time the comforting thought of no high exposure to a whole new breed that could be infected and in fact have different symptoms and side effects on the organism that the virus may affect.

As a member of the Picornaviridae family, hepatitis A virus is a linear TNA enterovirus, with a positive sense and a single stranded position. Depending on the synthesis and hepatocyte uptake viral replication will occur solely within the liver cells. Infection will exclusively be from ingestion for example fecal-oral transmission but there have been reported cases in which parental transmission was included. These cases have been isolated ones so there is no pattern that can be drawn from them, scientists still working on a theory of transmission.

Measuring almost 29 nm in diameter, the hepatitis A virus catalogued as a icosahedral nonenveloped virus that has a strong resistance proven by the denaturation of temperatures as low as -20C and as high as 57C, by drying, acid pH 3.0 and by ether. It can be a virus that will sustain itself for many years and studies have shown that chlorine, iodine and boiling water are quite effective means in destroying it depending solely on the genotype of the hepatitis A virus that will exist in the human body and the complication that it caused until the discovery and diagnostic.

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