Hepatitis A, (formerly known as infectious hepatitis), is an acute infectious disease of the liver caused by Hepatitis A virus, which is most commonly transmitted by the fecal-oral route via contaminated food or drinking water. Every year, approximately 10 million people worldwide are infected with the virus. The time between infection and the appearance of the symptoms, (the incubation period), is between two and six weeks and the average incubation period is 28 days.
In developing countries, and in regions with poor hygiene standards, the incidence of infection with this virus approaches 100% and the illness is usually contracted in early childhood. Hepatitis A infection causes no clinical signs and symptoms in over 90% of these children and since the infection confers lifelong immunity, the disease is of no special significance to the indigenous population. In Europe, the United States and other industrialized countries, on the other hand, the infection is contracted primarily by susceptible young adults, most of whom are infected with the virus during trips to countries with a high incidence of the disease.
Hepatitis A does not have a chronic stage and does not cause permanent liver damage. Following infection, the immune system makes antibodies against the hepatitis A virus that confer immunity against future infection. The disease can be prevented by vaccination and hepatitis A vaccine has been proved effective in controlling outbreaks worldwide
The Hepatitis virus (HAV) is a Picornavirus; it is non-enveloped and contains a single-stranded RNA packaged in a protein shell. There is only one type of the virus.Following ingestion, HAV enters the bloodstream through the epithelium of the oropharynx or intestine. The blood carries the virus to its target, the liver, where it lives and multiplies within hepatocytes and Kupffer cells (i.e., liver macrophages). There is no apparent virus-mediated cytotoxicity, and liver pathology is likely...