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Hepatitis A Virus (HAV): Quick Reference Guide for Health Care Professionals - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Hepatitis A Virus (HAV): Quick Reference Guide for Health Care Professionals

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Hepatitis A Virus (HAV): Quick Reference Guide for Health Care Professionals (PDF)

Report hepatitis A (HAV) infection (positive anti-HAV IgM) to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Etiology

  • HAV is an RNA virus in the picornavirus group.

Signs and symptoms

  • May be asymptomatic.
  • Symptoms usually occur abruptly and may include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, or jaundice. Children are unlikely to experience symptoms.
  • Symptoms generally last less than two months; occasionally, prolonged or relapsing illness can last up to six months.
  • Average incubation period is 28 days (range: 15-50 days).

Long-term effects

  • Chronic infection does not occur.
  • HAV infection confers life-long immunity.

Transmission

  • Fecal-oral transmission by:
    • Person-to-person contact.
    • Ingestion of contaminated food or water.

Communicability

  • Two weeks before symptom onset until two weeks after symptom onset or one week after jaundice (if present).

Risk groups

  • Persons who use injection and non-injection drugs.
  • Persons experiencing homelessness.
  • Persons who are currently or recently incarcerated.
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM).
  • Household contacts of infected persons.
  • Sexual contacts of infected persons.
  • Persons traveling to regions of the United States with high rates of HAV infection.
  • Persons traveling to regions where HAV is common, including Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.

Prevention

  • Hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent infection.
  • Hand washing with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.

Vaccine recommendations

  • Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for:
    • Persons who use injection and non-injection drugs.
    • Persons experiencing homelessness.
    • Persons who are currently or recently incarcerated.
    • Men who have sex with men (MSM).
    • Household contacts of infected persons.
    • Sexual contacts of infected persons.
    • Persons traveling to regions of the United States with high rates of HAV infection.
    • Persons traveling to regions where HAV is common, including Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.
    • Persons with chronic liver disease.
    • Persons with clotting-factor disorders (e.g., hemophilia).
    • Anyone seeking protection from hepatitis A.

Medical management

  • Supportive care.

Post-exposure management

  • Hepatitis A vaccine should be administered for post-exposure prophylaxis to stop the onset of symptoms for all persons age 12 months and older exposed within the previous 2 weeks.
  • In addition to hepatitis A vaccine, Immune Globulin (IG) may be administered to persons age 40 years and older depending on the extent of exposure and immunocompetence of the exposed individual.
  • For children under 12 months of age, immune globulin (IG) may be given in persons exposed within the previous two weeks.
Updated Wednesday, 12-Oct-2022 11:38:19 CDT