Hepatitis A (HAV)

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV), and is spread by putting anything in the mouth that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person. HAV-infected persons can spread the virus to household members or to sexual partners. Others who are more likely to contract HAV: men who have sex with men (MSM) people who use street drugs (IV – contaminated needles) children and employees in child care centers if a child or employee is HAV-infected travelers to countries where HAV is common those who work with HAV in research labs HAV can also be contracted by: eating fruits, vegetables, or other food that may have been contaminated during handling eating raw shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated water swallowing contaminated water or ice There are often no symptoms found in children, while 3 of 4 infected adults have symptoms; symptoms usually develop over a period of days. SYMPTOMS yellow eyes dark urine nausea vomiting fever tiredness loss of appetite stomach ache A person can spread HAV approximately 1 week before symptoms appear. People with no symptoms can still spread the virus. Hepatitis A usually does not cause death, and there is no chronic infection with HAV. Once a person recovers from HAV, he/she will never contract it again. Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can help prevent HAV. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing food. [excerpts from "Prevent Hepatitis A", HHS, CDC, 11/2002]    Hepatitis A Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for persons at increased risk for hepatitis A (e.g., international travelers, men who have sex with men [MSM], injection drug users...

Hepatitis B (HBV)

Hepatitis B (HBV) is caused by a virus and results in chronic liver disease. There is no cure. Over 100,000 to 200,000 cases are reported annually. About 5000-6000 U.S. deaths occur each year from HBV infection that leads to liver disease. If a person has contracted Hepatitis A or Hepatitis C, he/she can still get Hepatitis B. HBV is spread by: having sex with an infected person direct contact with blood of an infected person How to Protect Against HBV Infection Avoid Sexual Contact with HBV-infected persons. Remember, you cannot tell by looking at people if they have STDs! In the case of Hepatitis, some people might exhibit yellow eyes/skin; but many people have no such symptoms. According to the CDC: "The efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission." Therefore, because you cannot usually see HBV symptoms, and because condoms still involve obvious risk, sexual abstinence is your only 100% certain way to eliminate the risk of Hepatitis. Avoid any contact with drugs, needles, syringes, or other materials that may contain blood (could be contaminated with HBV) Avoid sharing personal care items, such as razors or toothbrushes Think very seriously about the health risks of tattoos or body piercing (it is crucial that needles/equipment be sterilized, that disposable gloves are used, and that the piercer/artist washes his/her hands properly) Always handle needles and sharp instruments carefully in your workplace. [excerpts from "Prevent Hepatitis B", HHS, CDC, 8/03]  Hepatitis B During 1990–2004, the number of acute hepatitis B cases reported annually declined 68% (1). This steady decline has coincided...