Cases of Hepatitis A are reported across all age groups in New Zealand, as stated by Immune NZ. Many of the cases reported overseas travel immediately prior to symptoms (during incubation period). In 2015, there was a small cluster of cases linked to the consumption of imported frozen berries.
The Hepatitis A virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route by consumption of contaminated food such as raw shellfish, water or milk or close contact with an infected person/persons.
There are certain groups of people who are at a higher risk from this infection as stated by Immune NZ, these include:
Symptoms are usually seen in older children and adults from 15 -50 days after infection. Young children may not have any symptoms. Symptoms can last for several weeks but no more than two months.
Information received from The Immunisation Advisory Centre & the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) 2018.
There is no specific treatment for the Hepatitis A infection. Please see your GP for advice regarding what and when to take medication to relieve pain and fever.
As the NZ Immunisation Advisory Centre advise, it is very rare to develop severe liver problems following being infected with Hepatitis A, but the risk of complications does increase the older person is and also higher in those with any pre-existing liver disease.
Hand hygiene is the gold standard for preventing the spread of Hepatitis A. Using soap and water to wash your hands –
A vaccine is also available, but it is not funded, for people at risk of infection. CDC (The Centre of Disease and Control) advises the best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination with the Hepatitis A vaccine. To get the full benefit of the Hepatitis A vaccine, it is recommended that more than one vaccination is needed. For more information, please see your Family Doctor.
The NZ Immunisation Advisory Centre 2018 recommends the following people get a vaccine: