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Hepatitis (hep-ah-ty-tis) is a disorder in which viruses produce inflammation of liver cells, resulting in their injury or destruction. The word comes from a combination of two Greek words: "Hepatos-" ("liver"), and "-itis" ("inflammation").

There are three types of Hepatitis that can occur, those are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C (or Non A Non B Hepatitis). Of the three Hepatitis A is the most benign and leaves no long term side effects.

Liver is the largest organ in the body. It occupies the entire upper right quadrant of the abdomen and performs more than hundred vital functions. Processing of nutrients the body requires, including proteins, glucose, vitamins, and fats and manufacturing of bile, the greenish fluid stored in the gall bladder that helps digest fats are the major functions of liver. Another major contribution by liver is that it reduces the toxicity of potentially toxic substances, including alcohol, ammonia, nicotine, drugs, and harmful by-products of digestion. Old red blood cells are removed from the blood by the liver and spleen, and the iron is cycled to the bone marrow to make new ones. Damage to the liver can impair these functions and many other processes.


The hepatitis A virus is passed out through the stools of an infected person 2 to 3 weeks before symptoms occur and during the first week of illness. Blood and secretions of an infected person may also spread the disease. The disease is also transmitted by contaminated food or water. The virus does not remain in the body after the infection has resolved. hence this disease has no carrier state.

Eating shellfish taken from sewage-contaminated water is a common means of contracting hepatitis A.

It can also be acquired by close contact with individuals infected with the virus.


The symptoms associated with hepatitis A are similar to flu, but the skin and the eyes may become yellow (icterus) because the liver is not able to filter bilirubin from the blood. The other symptoms are:

-> Loss of appetite.

-> Nausea and vomiting.

-> Fever and body pains.

-> Pale or clay colored stools.

-> Dark urine.


(1):- Physical examination shows an enlarged liver.

(2):- A blood test is needed to diagnose hepatitis.

(3):- Liver function tests are done to see increased liver enzymes.


There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Taking rest is very important when the symptoms are most severe. People with acute hepatitis should avoid alcohol and any substances that are hepatotoxic. Most people recover fully and within 1 to 2 months the liver is healed.


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