Hepatitis A Overview

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Acute Viral Hepatitis Panel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Hepatitis A Overview

The Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a nonenveloped, single-stranded RNA virus. It is of the Hepatovirus genus and the Picornaviridae family of viruses. There are three genotypes of HAV but they all be detected with one antibody (making HAV a one serotype virus). HAV is stable under normal environmental conditions and thus can contaminate food or water. It is spread through the fecal-oral route.
According to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS), HAV rates have lowered by more than 95% in the United States, from 14 cases per 100,000 persons in 1989, to 1 reported case per 100,000 persons in 2008 (see graph here). This is largely due to the fact that we now have a vaccine for HAV. For more data, visit this link.
There have been several instances in the recent past in which localized outbreaks have occurred. The national increase seen in HAV infection in 2016 is now believed to have been initially due to imported foods being contaminated with the virus.
1. DesignUA. "Hepatitis A virus. HAV. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by a group of viruses." 123rf.com, 2022, https://www.123rf.com/photo_30742669_hepatitis-a-virus-hav-hepatitis-is-an-inflammation-of-the-liver-that-can-be-caused-by-a-group-of-vir.html?vti=m89iio2xoxczxx0cmu-1-30

A diagram of Hepatitis A Virus (1).