Font Size

Hepatitis A (cont.)

Hepatitis A Causes

The cause of hepatitis A is hepatitis A virus (HAV) that is transmitted person to person by contaminated foods, water or other drinks (including ice), blood, stool, and direct contact. The virus is a Picornavirus that contains single-stranded RNA as its genome covered by a protein shell. The virus enters through the epithelium in the mouth or gut and migrates to the liver over a period of about two to six weeks. Symptoms (jaundice and other symptoms, see below) then begin to develop as the virus replicates in the liver cells (hepatocytes and Kupffer cells, also termed liver macrophages). HAV reproduces itself by utilizing the liver cell's ribosomes for viral replication; however this interferes with normal liver cell function. If large numbers of liver cells are infected with HAV, the person will develop symptoms. The viruses are secreted into the GI tract by the bile fluid made in the liver. The majority of people infected recover with no lasting damage to the liver.

Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Courtesy of the CDC

Picture of the Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2015

Must Read Articles Related to Hepatitis A

Cirrhosis Cirrhosis is a scarring of the learn more >>
Hepatitis B (HBV, Hep B)
Hepatitis B Hepatitis is a general term that means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV, Hep B). Hepatitis B is tra...learn more >>
Hepatitis C (Hep C, HCV)
Hepatitis C Hepatitis C (Hep C, HCV) is inflammation of the liver/...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A):

Hepatitis A - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A - Treatment

What was the treatment for your hepatitis A infection?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Hepatitis A »

One of the more common causes of acute hepatitis is hepatitis A virus (HAV).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary