Hepatitis 1

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that infects about 200,000 in the United States each year. Dr. Edward Hill begins a three-part series on hepatitis in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection. The most common types of viral hepatitis are called A, B and C. Hepatitis can be acute or chronic. The symptoms of acute hepatitis include jaundice, or a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes, nausea, abdominal pain and fatigue. Chronic hepatitis may have no symptoms until very late in the disease.

Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is one of the most widely reported diseases. A vaccine can help prevent hepatitis A in people at risk.

The virus is spread most commonly when people put food or objects contaminated with stool containing hepatitis A virus into their mouths. Large numbers of people get the virus after drinking contaminated water.

Hepatitis A symptoms usually go away over time without treatment. Your physician will advise you to drink plenty of fluids. You should be very cautious about hand washing and avoiding fecal contamination so as not to spread the virus.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.