When Hepatitis A Turns Fatal

Hepatitis A infections can be fatal for certain patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A study from South Korea has found a link between the Hepatitis A virus and patients with pre-existing chronic liver disease and identified the age group most at risk.

Infection by the Hepatitis A virus has gone down significantly in the past ten years, decreasing from 12 cases per 100,000 people to 1 per 100,000. Hepatitis A can usually be overcome quite easily, while Hepatitis B and C usually lead to chronic and life-threatening infections.

Hepatitis A can be contracted through contaminated food, water, not washing one's hands after changing a diaper, and having anal or oral sex with an infected partner. There is an HAV vaccine available but the virus, which causes swelling of the liver, usually goes away on its own without causing any major liver damage.

Acute Hepatitis A viral infection can be fatal, however, in patients already suffering from chronic liver disease. A recent study of patients in South Korea sought to find a link between the Hepatitis A virus and people with CLD and whether or not any particular age group was at higher risk.

Almost 87 percent of patients with chronic liver disease also showed signs of having had an HAV infection, most of them 40 years or older. Vaccination is still suggested for people of all ages who have chronic liver disease.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 31, 2011
Last Updated:
February 1, 2011