Hepatitis A outbreak: São Paulo has increased by 708% in cases
The State of São Paulo has registered, in recent months, a worrisome increase in cases of hepatitis A. According to the Municipal Health Department, 517 cases have been registered so far in 2017, two deaths so far.
Since 2016, hepatitis A outbreaks have been reported in 15 European Union countries (Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Portugal, among others). The main cases (80%) are men, aged between 18 and 39 years, who have sex with men.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus, HAV. Generally, this disease, which is the most common type of hepatitis, causes the liver to become inflamed for a time, but it does not usually progress to very serious cases and patients recover without major problems. Hepatitis can also present itself in two other forms: B and C, each with its peculiarity. You can only contract this disease once, since it will then be immune to the virus for the rest of your life.
Forms of Hepatitis A transmission
There are two forms of hepatitis A virus transmission. by the fecal-oral route, especially when there is intimate contact with the patient. Among adults with risk factors identified, the majority of cases are men who have had sex with other men, according to the Health Department of the State of São Paulo.
It is worth mentioning that virus transmission can occur even using measures such as the use of condoms, mainly due to fecal-oral contact during sexual intercourse.
Even though hepatitis A is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, its contamination occurs through contact with fecal material, cases of unprotected anal intercourse may be contaminated.
It is very important to say that sexual contact is not the only form of contamination of the disease. Transmission can also occur through various types of food such as fruits, vegetables, undercooked shellfish, and contaminated water. Hepatitis A symptoms The signs and symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear 2 to 4 weeks after infection by virus, which is the incubation period. Among the main symptoms are:
Nausea and vomiting
Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area near the liver
- Loss of appetite
- Low fever
- Dark urine
- Muscular pain
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- The illness usually lasts less than two months, but can last up to six months eventually. It may rarely present a severe form, called fulminant, that can lead to death quickly.
- Not all people with hepatitis A develop symptoms, ie there are cases of asymptomatic infection and others may be subclinical, where there are few symptoms and can go unnoticed.
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