Even though hepatitis A is no longer a pandemic disease in most countries, it is still a public health concern in others. It is one of the most highly contagious viral hepatitis, and you don’t need to get a blood transfusion or have unprotected sex to get infected. It is one of the most common hepatitis viruses in children and causes acute and sometimes very severe symptoms.
In this article, we’re exploring the fundamentals of hepatitis A, from the study of the virus itself to the disease’s symptoms and complications. So, if you ever wondered how to prevent or treat hepatitis A, you will have a complete understanding of that and much more after reading this short review.
What is hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A Virus, or HAV, is a type of enterovirus with a linear strand of RNA. This virus is taken and replicated by the hepatocyte. Thus, it depends on the liver to spread and infect the body. The replication of this virus only happens inside the liver, and it is almost exclusively transmitted orally.
The virus measures 28 nm, which is extremely small, considering the size of the hepatocyte. The virus is resistant to low temperatures (down to -20 ºC) and high temperatures (up to 56 ºC) and very resistant to acid, which is why it is not destroyed in the stomach. It remains alive for many years waiting for another host to get infected. When it is finally ingested and taken to the liver, it is received by a receptor in liver cells and goes straight to the ribosomes to replicate its viral code.