Hepatitis A (cont.)
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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
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