Hepatitis A, B and C

Hepatitis A

Overview

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It is usually transmitted by consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. More than 80% of adults with Hepatitis A have symptoms but the majority of children do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Symptoms can be "flu like" and often children have severe stomach pains and diarrhea. Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes, dark urine) is another common symptom. Antibodies produced in response to Hepatitis A last for life and protect against reinfection. The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated.

Hepatitis A rates in the United States have declined by 95% since the Hepatitis A vaccine first became available in 1995. In 2013, 1,781 acute symptomatic cases of hepatitis A were reported. These cases represent an increase of 14% from 1,562 cases in 2012, due to an outbreak from imported pomegranate consumed by persons in several southwestern states and Hawaii in 2013 (CDC).

Vaccine

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease that is preventable through a vaccine. For more information about the Hepatitis A vaccine, click here.

School Exclusion and Reportable to Public Health

A student infected with Hepatitis A will be excluded until 7 days after the onset of the illness and until jaundice (if present) has disappeared or until they are released by the Public Health department to return to school.

Hepatitis A is reportable to Ventura County Public Health.

 

Hepatitis B

Overview

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted when the body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer. The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.

The rate of new HBV infections has declined by approximately 82% since 1991, when a national strategy to eliminate HBV infection was implemented in the United States. The decline has been greatest among children born since 1991, when routine vaccination of children was first recommended (CDC).

Vaccine

Hepatitis B is a communicable disease that is preventable with a vaccine. For more information, click here.

School Exclusion and Reportable to Public Health

A student infected with Hepatitis B should be excluded during acute illness or if the student has a history of aggressive behavior (biting), weeping skin lesions or a bleeding problem.

Hepatitis B should be reported to Ventura County Public Health.

 

Hepatitis C

Overview

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of infected persons might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill.

The number of acute cases of hepatitis C reported in the US increased from, 1,778 in 2012 to 2,138 in 2013. The CDC estimates approximately 29,718 cases occurred in 2013, after adjusting for asymptomatic infection and underreporting. Approximately 2.7 million persons in the United States have chronic HCV infection. Infection is most prevalent among those born during 1945–1965, the majority of whom were likely infected during the 1970s and 1980s when rates were highest (CDC).

Vaccine

There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.


School Exclusion and Reportable to Public Health

A student infected with Hepatitis C should be excluded during acute illness or if the student has a history of aggressive behavior (biting), weeping skin lesions or a bleeding problem.

Hepatitis C is reportable to Ventura County Public Health.

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