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Human Resources

Human Resources

Hepatitis A

Description

A self limiting viral disease causing inflammation of the liver. The mode of transmission is from person to person by fecal-oral contamination. Contaminated water or food is the most common means of infection. Symptoms consist of abrupt onset fever, malaise, nausea, anorexia, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice. Symptoms may be subclinical. Symptoms usually last less than 2 months. This is not life threatening.

Transmission

Person to person by fecal oral route. Outbreaks are often traced to contaminated food and water sources. If infected do not share utensils, drinking containers, towels or toiletries. Hand washing is essential. If exposure occurred in the work place, contact Infection Control department and Employee Health Services to report it.

Incubation

10 to 50 days. Maximum period of infectivity is during the later half of the incubation period through the first few days of active disease.

Contacts

Enteric precautions during the first 2 weeks of illness. Serum IG 0.02 ml/kg should be given as soon as possible after exposure up to two weeks post exposure.

Return to work

Obtain health clearance from primary physician upon return to work. If documented exposure occurred here at work, Employee Health Services will provide clearance to return to work.

Vaccine

Hepatitis A vaccine is available through your PPO or HMO and is usually covered by your co-pay. There are two injections to complete the series to have immunity. The first injection must be given two weeks to one month to build antibodies for protection. One injection gives you 95% immunity for up to five years (according to pharmaceutical company). The second injection should be given six months to one year after the first injection for desired immunity for life. Highly recommended.