Tshwane residents urged to test for Hepatitis A

2011-07-27 11:27

Pretoria residents are urged to get tested for hepatitis A, due to rise in reported cases since the past month, the city said today.

This highly-infectious disease is more prevalent in areas where hygienic and sanitary conditions are poor, spokesperson Console Tleane said in a statement.

Hepatitis A is an acute, self-limiting disease (one that ends without treatment) of the liver, caused by the hepatitis A virus.

Symptoms vary from person to person depending on their age.

Common symptoms are: appetite loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, fever, headaches, sensitivity to light and flu-like symptoms which include coughing, runny nose and a painful throat.

Each year approximately 1.5 million cases of hepatitis A occur globally, according to the SA Vaccination and Immunisation Centre.

“The disease is usually acquired by ingestion of faecally contaminated food or water. Sexual contact and blood transfusions may also play a role in the spread of the disease, but incidences are rare,” said Tleane.

Contracting the disease can be prevented through good personal hygiene, safe drinking water and proper disposal of sanitary waste. Vaccination was available at clinics and hospitals.

Those at the highest risk of contracting it include children at day-care centres, their parents and siblings, day-care centre employees and persons with chronic liver disease.

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