Pro-Med Mail has an interesting report about the current Hepatitis A outbreak in Prague, Czech Republic.
The report states that over 600 cases of Hep. A are currently diagnosed and the number is expected to keep rising, possibly through November. Prague and middle Bohemia appear to be getting the majority of cases, as well. Promed also reports that the age group this is effecting is the 20-45 year old. A speculated reason is the increase of IV drug users in the major cities. Hepatitis A commonly effects children.
Hepatitis A is a most commonly a fecal-oral transmitted viral infection that effects the liver. Generally a self-limited disease (it goes away on it’s own), Hep A is often acquired through eating fruits and veggies washed with infected water, drinking the infected water or sometimes shellfish. Food handlers who are infected with Hep. A can pass the illness on through poor hand washing hygiene, simply by handling the food.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable disease and the vaccine is now commonly being given in childhood, as a standard immunization. For those looking to get immunization against both Hepatitis A and B, the Twinrix vaccine is a good option. This should be thought of as a mandatory vaccine for travelers, in my opinion. If you have had this disease, before, you may have immunity to it. Checking your antibody titers may help confirm this. The vaccine consists of two injections, given six months apart and offers life-long protection.
Common symptoms of Hep. A include abdominal pain (especially on the upper-right side), fever and yellowing (jaundice) of the skin.