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Hepatitis A

Last update: 2022-06-07

Key facts

Transmission

  • Unwashed hands, objects contaminated with human waste (stools)
  • Food and water contaminated with human waste (focus especially on fruits,
  • raw vegetables, cold meat, raw shellfish and ice)
  • Close physical contact with an infectious person (not casual everyday contact)

Symptoms

  • Some people with Hepatitis A, especially children, do not show signs of disease at all.
  • Symptoms can include tiredness, fever, loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine and
  • yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice).

Prevention

  • Handwashing with soap (especially after using the toilet or cleaning a baby)
  • Safe, clean drinking water (including a clean, covered water container in the household)
  • Use of appropriate sanitation facilities (sound, clean latrines)
  • Good food hygiene (thoroughly cooked food, covered food, clean utensils, etc.)
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Routine vaccination

Vulnerable people

  • Older children and adults
  • People living in areas that have poor water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and services
  • People who live in crowded conditions

If an epidemic occurs

  • Detect and refer cases to health facilities
  • Promote handwashing with soap (especially after using the toilet or cleaning a baby)
  • Promote safe, clean drinking water (including a clean, covered water container in the household)
  • Promote use of appropriate sanitation facilities (sound, clean latrines)
  • Promote good food hygiene (thoroughly cooked food, covered food, clean utensils, etc.)
  • Increase social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Support mass vaccination campaign
  • Promote recommended health practices

Community-based assessment - questions

Make a map of the community and mark the information you gather on the map. Record other details.

  • When did people start to fall sick with hepatitis A?
  • How many people have fallen sick with hepatitis A? Where?
  • How many people have died from hepatitis A? Where?
  • How many people live in the affected community or area? How many children under five years of age live in the area?
  • Who and where are the vulnerable people?
  • Are children in the affected community generally well nourished?
  • Do people always have enough food?
  • How common is breastfeeding?
  • Where do people obtain their drinking water? Is the source safe? Do people treat their water?
  • What sanitation facilities (including communal latrines) are available? Do people use them?
  • What handwashing facilities are available? Do they have soap?
  • Where are the local health facilities and services? (Include traditional and community carers.)
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for and feeding sick people? When babies and infants are sick, do women continue to breastfeed them?
  • Is a vaccination programme planned or in place?
  • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about hygiene, sanitation and water?
  • Which sources or channels of information do people use most?
  • Are rumours or is misinformation about hepatitis A spreading in the community?
  • Can people identify the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
  • Do people know how to make oral rehydration solution (ORS)?
  • Do they have resources at hand to make it?
  • Do people know how to treat water?