In Pakistan, the most common form of hepatitis in children is hepatitis A (also called infectious hepatitis). This form is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), which lives in the stools (feces or poop) of infected individuals. Infected stool can be present in small amounts in food and on objects (from doorknobs to diapers).
HAV is spread when someone ingests anything that's contaminated with HAV-infected stool (this makes it easy for the virus to spread in overcrowded, unsanitary living conditions).
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, jaundice, and decreased appetite. It can be diagnosed and followed through the use of readily available blood tests. Please consult your child specialist for proper diagnosis and management if you have any concerns.
While Hepatitis A is a mostly a self limiting disease, it can lead to complications in rare instances. Every effort should be made to prevent it by focusing on good hand hygiene and avoiding contaminated food and water. Vaccine against Hepatitis A is also available, and should be considered in all children.