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Liver Center - Viral Hepatitis A (HAV)

Definition Incidence Risk Factors/Cause
One of many hepatitis viruses causing inflammation of the liver. Most often contracted by ingesting contaminated food or water or spread from person to person through unhygienic conditions. Approximately 80,000 cases reported annually in the U.S. Exposure to fecal material

Exposure to contaminated water or foods

Travel to countries with high rates of hepatitis A

Intravenous drug use

Male homosexual sex

Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment/Prevention
Loss of appetite
Abdominal pain
Dark urine
Light stools
Medical history
Physical exam
Blood tests
Preventable by immune globulin (IG) injection within 14 days of exposure or HAV vaccination

Symptomatic treatment

Usually recovers spontaneously