Hepatitis A is usually spread by the faeco-oral route, often from person to person
or via unhygienic water supplies and food. Over the last twenty years the incidence
of infection among the population in Scotland has declined. Recently, in Scotland,
outbreaks have occurred among injecting drug users. The mainstay of prevention is
scrupulous personal hygiene and good sanitation. Passive and active immunisation
is available, although the former is now rarely used.
Main clinical features
Infection may be asymptomatic or cause a spectrum of symptoms from nausea through
acute clinical hepatitis to liver failure and death. Mild disease is commoner in
younger cases. Severe disease is rare.
Usually 2 - 6 weeks.
Voluntary laboratory reports.