Diagnosing Hepatitis AIn order to make a diagnosis, a healthcare provider will ask the patient a number of questions and perform a physical exam, looking for signs and symptoms of the disease.
If hepatitis A is suspected, the healthcare provider will order certain tests that help to diagnose the disease. Some of these tests will look for high levels of liver enzymes or bilirubin in the blood. Other tests will look for antibodies the body has made against the virus.
(Click Diagnosing Hepatitis A for more information.)
How Is It Treated?There is currently no treatment for hepatitis A that can kill the virus. And because it is caused by a virus, antibiotics or other medications are not effective. Instead, treatment focuses on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the virus. This is called supportive care.
(Click Hepatitis A Treatment for more information.)
PrognosisWhile there is no cure for hepatitis A, most people infected with the virus get well within six months. As mentioned, about 15 percent of infected people will have prolonged or relapsing symptoms over a period of months.
Hepatitis A can be serious for older people and people who already have liver disease. Death is possible, although rare.
With hepatitis A, there is no chronic (long-term) infection. Once you have had it, you cannot get it again.
Preventing Hepatitis AThe best cure for hepatitis A is preventing it in the first place. Prevention is best accomplished with the vaccine, which is given as a shot.
(Click Prevention of Hepatitis A for more information.)