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See how to prevent hepatitis A

See how to prevent hepatitis A

Hepatitis A represents a major public health challenge and requires urgent preventive measures Image: (Nadia Lapsinska | Shutterstock)

Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver of multiple causes, is a major public health concern, not only in Brazil, but throughout the world. Among the various forms of this condition, hepatitis A stands out as one of the main viral variants. Hepatitis A is characterized by a set of initial symptoms, such as fatigue, fever and muscle pain, and can develop into serious complications if not treated properly.

According to recent data released by the Brazilian Association of Diagnostic Medicine (APRAMED), the country saw an alarming 56.2% increase in hepatitis A cases during the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year. In light of this scenario, it is necessary to understand the preventive measures available to contain the spread of this disease and protect the population.

Transmission and treatment of hepatitis A

transition Lever Inflammation A is fecal-oral (contact of stool with the mouth), and is directly related to the consumption of unfit food or water, and low levels of basic sanitation and personal hygiene. Close personal contact (within families, the homeless, or between children in day care centers) is also a possible form of infection. There are also reports of cases involving oral and anal sex.

According to São Cristóvão infectious disease specialist Dr. Michelle Zecker, there is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. “Self-treatment to relieve symptoms should be avoided, because the use of unnecessary medications or those that are toxic to the liver can aggravate the condition.” blackboard. The specialist says that hospitalization is only indicated in severe cases.

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Vaccination against hepatitis A is a very effective and safe measure to prevent the disease (Photo: Roman Samborskyi | Shutterstock)

Hepatitis A vaccine

The hepatitis A vaccine, which is highly effective and safe, is the main preventive measure against the disease. Currently, the dosage is part of the pediatric calendar, with a single dose schedule at 15 months (age). Furthermore, it is available in the Reference Centers for Special Immunobiology (CRIE) in a two-dose schedule – at least 6 months apart – for people over 1 year of age, with the following conditions:

  • Chronic liver disease of any etiology, including chronic hepatitis B virus and/or hepatitis C virus infection.
  • People with coagulopathies, hemoglobinopathies, trisomy, storage diseases, or cystic fibrosis (cystic fibrosis);
  • People who live with HIV;
  • People undergoing immunosuppressive therapy or suffering from an immunosuppressive disease.
  • Solid organ transplant candidates, enrolled in organ transplant programs or receiving solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell (bone marrow) transplants;
  • Solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell (bone marrow) donors enrolled in organ transplant programs.

Ways to prevent disease

In addition to emphasizing the importance of vaccination to prevent infection with hepatitis A virus, Dr. Michelle highlights some important habits and protocols that must be strictly followed:

  • Wash your hands frequently (after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before preparing food);
  • Wash foods that are consumed raw with treated, chlorinated or boiled water and leave them to soak for 30 minutes;
  • Cook food well before eating, especially shellfish, seafood and fish;
  • Properly wash dishes, glasses, cutlery, baby bottles, and other utensils used to prepare food;
  • In the case of daycare centers, kindergartens, cafeterias, restaurants and closed institutions, strict sanitary measures must be taken, e.g Cleanse thingscountertops and floors using 2.5% sodium hypochlorite or bleach;
  • Do not bathe or play near ditches, streams, fountains, floods, or near septic tanks;
  • Avoid constructing septic tanks near wells and river sources;
  • Use a condom and clean your hands, genitals, perineum and anal area before and after intercourse.
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Written by Camilla Ball

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