Hepatitis

Prevention and treatment of hepatitis A and E

Prevention

The most effective ways to decrease hepatitis A and E transmission are improved sanitation, food safety and basic hygiene practices. The risk of hepatitis A and E transmission and infection can be reduced by ensuring:

  • adequate supplies of safe drinking water;
  • proper disposal of sewage within communities;
  • personal hygiene practices such as regular hand-washing with safe water, particularly before handling food;
  • drinking safe water/ice;
  • adhering to safe food handling practices.

Vaccination is another prevention method to combat hepatitis A and E:

  • Several hepatitis A vaccines are available internationally. Some are combined with the hepatitis B vaccine. All are similar in terms of how well they protect people from the virus and their side-effects.
  • Millions of people have been immunized worldwide against hepatitis A virus with no serious adverse events.
  • In 2011, the first vaccine to prevent hepatitis E infection was registered in China. Although it is not yet available globally, it could potentially become available in a number of other countries.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for symptomatic hepatitis A and E. People who become infected with hepatitis E virus usually get better on their own, and generally do not need to be hospitalized. However, hospitalization is required for people with life-threatening disease from hepatitis, and should be considered for symptomatic pregnant women.

Prevention is the most effective approach against hepatitis A and E.

  • Recovery from symptoms following infection may be slow and may take several weeks or months.
  • Therapy is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhoea.
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Last update:

July 24 2014 1:32 GMT

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