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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease caused by the type A hepatitis virus and attacks the cells of the human liver. Every year in Southeast Asia, hepatitis A cases attack around 400,000 people per year with a mortality rate of up to 800 people. Most hepatitis A sufferers are children.

Early symptoms that can appear include fever, nausea, vomiting, joint and muscle pain, and diarrhea. When the liver has begun to attack, there are several other symptoms that will appear, namely dark urine, pale stools, jaundice and itching. In addition, the upper right abdomen will also hurt, especially if pressed.

But not all sufferers experience symptoms of hepatitis A. Therefore, this disease is sometimes difficult to realize. Only one in ten people with hepatitis A under the age of 6 who experience jaundice. Whereas in adolescents and adults, this disease usually causes more severe symptoms and 70 percent of them will experience jaundice.

Unlike the other two types of hepatitis namely hepatitis B and hepatitis C, infections due to hepatitis A do not cause long-term (chronic) liver problems, and are rarely fatal. However, hepatitis A can cause the appearance of symptoms of acute liver damage, which is quite dangerous and potentially life threatening.

Hepatitis A


Causes and Transmission of Hepatitis A

The cause of this disease is the hepatitis A virus which can spread very easily. The main method of distribution is through food or drinks that have been contaminated by feces of people with hepatitis A. Several risk factors that can increase the spread of this virus include:

  • Poor sanitation
  • Direct contact with sufferers
  • Sharing syringes
  • Having sex with people, especially anal sex
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Work in areas related to dirt, such as sewers

Steps for Hepatitis A Treatment

This disease does not have a special treatment step because the immune system will eliminate the virus by itself.

However, the doctor may prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms experienced by the sufferer. Treatment includes taking relievers of itching, pain, nausea and vomiting according to the dosage. The liver also needs to be left to rest for example by not consuming liquor and being careful with drugs that can affect the liver.

The time needed for an sufferer to recover fully from this disease is usually several months. People who have successfully recovered will have immunity against this disease.

This disease does not have special handling measures. Recovery depends only on the immune system that eliminates the virus by itself. The step of treating hepatitis A aims to relieve the symptoms that are experienced. The treatment steps include:

  • A lot of rest. People with hepatitis A will definitely experience fatigue, especially at the beginning of the infection.
  • Take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen according to the doctor's prescription, if the patient feels pain or pain.
  • Overcoming nausea and vomiting, for example by avoiding fatty foods and eating small portions. If this symptom does not diminish, the doctor will usually prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like metoclopramide This drug is available in the form of tablets, capsules, powders, and through injections.
  • Don't consume liquor or drugs that affect the liver so that your liver can also rest. If there are certain medications that you need to use, discuss the dosage or type of medication that is safe with your doctor.

There are several ways for people with Hepatitis A to prevent the spread of infection to other people, namely:

  • Don't share towels with other people and don't mix laundry clothes with someone else's
  • Wash hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially after going to the restroom.
  • You should not have sex, while you are still infected.
  • Don't prepare food for others.
  • Clean the restroom, especially the toilet.
  • Avoid traveling outside the house, at least until a week after symptoms begin to feel.

Risk of Hepatitis A Complications

Hepatitis A infections generally do not cause long-term (chronic) liver disease and are rarely fatal. However, this disease has the potential to cause liver failure, especially in those who have had liver disease before being infected with hepatitis A and elderly patients. In addition, in some patients this infection can relapse or return again.

The following are complications that can occur:

Risk of experiencing liver failure

This complication occurs when liver function decreases dramatically. Liver failure can cause sufferers to experience severe vomiting, susceptibility to bleeding, easy drowsiness, decreased concentration and memory, and impaired concentration. If not treated immediately, liver failure can cause death.

Risk of recurrence of infection

Hepatitis A infections can sometimes come back. Recurrence of hepatitis A can occur more than once after the first infection.

Risk of Experiencing Cholestasis

Cholestasis usually occurs in older people with hepatitis A. This condition can heal on its own without special treatment. This complication occurs when bile builds up in the liver. Symptoms include weight loss, fever, jaundice that does not heal, and diarrhea.

Ways to Prevent Hepatitis A

The main prevention of hepatitis A is to maintain cleanliness. This can be done with easy steps such as:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and clean water, for example before eating, before processing food, and after going to the toilet.
  • Don't share personal items such as toothbrushes or towels.
  • Don't lend to each other the utensils.
  • Always cook food until cooked and boil the water until boiling.
  • Avoid snacks at street vendors who have poor hygiene.
  • Avoid consuming raw foods that come from contaminated waters, such as oysters.

Because the main spread is through consuming something contaminated, the main step to prevent hepatitis A is to maintain cleanliness. This step can be done easily, such as always washing hands, avoiding consumption of raw or undercooked foods and avoiding the consumption of raw water that is not guaranteed to be clean.

In addition, hepatitis A vaccination can also prevent this disease. Especially for those who have high risk such as people who suffer from chronic liver disease, as well as users of unsterile needles.



World Health Organization (2013). Emerging Diseases. Regional Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis.

World Health Organization (2018). Hepatitis A.

Franco, et al. (2012). Hepatitis A: Epidemiology and Prevention in Developing Countries. World Journal of Hepatology.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.