Hepatitis A is another infection of the liver, but unlike Hep B and Hep C most people recover completely. This one is usually transferred from person to person through contact with an infected person’s faecal matter (yes poo) and like Hep B it is still quite common in several popular tourist destinations due to poor sanitation and the way food may be fertilised/prepared…sorry if we just turned you off that next holiday! The good news is that there is a vaccine and once you have had it, you can’t get it again either.
Even though Hepatitis A is not a long-term condition the symptoms can still be very debilitating and whilst you have it you can pass it along to others! Not to mention if you do already have liver damage it can be particularly dangerous. Whilst it is less likely you’ll have contracted this one there are times when our doctors will recommend you are tested for Hepatitis A just to be on the safe side particularly since up to 40% of people with Hepatitis A have no identifiable risk factors for infection.
Hepatitis A is again detected via blood test. We’ll be looking for IgM Hepatitis A antibodies, sounds fancy right? The presence of these antibodies tells us that you’ve recently contracted the infection because they’re present for 3-6 months after. We’ll also look for IgG Hepatitis A antibodies, the presence of these guys tells us you’ve had Hepatitis A in the past and now have immunity.
Hepatitis A is not usually treated, it will clear up all on its own, just like a nasty dose of the flu, but as we said the symptoms can be quite uncomfortable so being tested means a doctor will be able to give you some relief and most importantly knowing you have it means you won’t pass it along to anyone else!