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Hepatitis A - Information Center
:: What is Hepatitis A? ::

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus which causes inflammation of the liver. The liver is one of the most vital organs in the body and it is involved with processing most of the food we eat and in keeping the blood healthy.

Hepatitis will usually stop the liver working properly often with serious consequences.

Of the viruses which can cause liver infection, Hepatitis A is the most widespread in the world and is probably the easiest to catch.
:: How is Hepatitis A caught? ::

The virus gets into the body through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Careless hand washing after visiting the lavatory or changing a baby’s nappy, poor quality water supplies or close contact with an infected person can all spread the infection from one person to another.
:: What happens if you become infected with Hepatitis A? ::

Jaundice, is the most recognizable symptom of Hepatitis A, and yellowing of the eyes and skin is typical. Hepatitis A also makes people feel extremely weak and ill, and it can cause pain, fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Those who experience these symptoms are often unable to carry out what they perform in their normal everyday life.
:: Is Hepatitis A a serious disease? ::

The severity of the disease is often related to the age of the sufferer. In very young infants it is usually mild, in toddlers and older children symptoms are more severe, and in adults Hepatitis A can have very serious consequences.
:: Why is the risk increasing? ::

Formerly, in places without a good water supply, babies would get infected by the virus and develop a natural immunity, protecting them from disease in later life.

As standards of hygiene and water supply improved there is less virus circulating particularly in urban areas. As a result, the number of children contracting the virus in their early stages (when the infection tends to be less serious) is decreasing, and exposing children to infection when they get older (when the infection tends to be more serious).
:: What can be done to protect my family against Hepatitis A? ::

The best way to prevent Hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.

A safe and very effective vaccine is available for children and adults which has been used by millions of people all over the world.

The vaccine can ensure that you body builds up its own protection. A course of vaccination can therefore provide long-lasting and effective immunity from Hepatitis A.
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