The Hepatitis A virus is a single-stranded RNA virus that belongs to the Picornaviridae family of viruses. The majority of acute HAV infections are subclinical. When symptoms do appear, they tend to be mild and non-specific in nature. Most commonly they include fever, general malaise, fatigue, abdominal discomfort and change in bowel habits. When severe, dark urine, pale stool and jaundice may appear. The severity of acute HAV infections is proportional to the age of the patient, with younger patients tending to have milder disease than the elderly.
HAV is spread through faecal contamination of food or drinking water. Although the virus is present in blood, the limited amount of circulating virus and short duration of viremia render parenteral transmission of this virus extremely uncommon. Faeces of infected individuals tend to contain the virus for a 2-week period prior to the onset of illness and for at least 2 weeks and perhaps as long as 3 months thereafter.
Acute hepatitis A is one of the well known vaccine preventable diseases and active Hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccination is recommended in high risk populations.
HAV MonlabTest® provides a rapid detection of Hepatitis A directly from the faecal samples.