Acute Communicable
Disease Control


Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856

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Acute Communicable Disease Control
   Hepatitis A

image of a manHepatitis A virus (HAV), a RNA-virus of the Picornaviridae family, is a vaccine-preventable disease transmitted fecal-orally, person-to-person,or through vehicles such as food. Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis A include fever, malaise, dark urine, anorexia, nausea, and abdominal discomfort, followed by jaundice. Many cases, especially in children, are mild or asymptomatic. Sexual and household contacts of HAV-infected persons are at increased risk for getting the disease. The average incubation period is 28 days (range 15–50 days). Recovery usually occurs within one month. Infection confers life-long immunity.

ACDC uses the CDC/CSTE criteria for acute hepatitis A to standardize surveillance of this infection. The
criteria include: 1) an acute illness with discrete onset of symptoms and 2) jaundice or elevated aminotransferase levels, and 3) appropriate lab tests to confirm laboratory criteria for acute hepatitis A diagnosis: IgM anti-HAV positive, or a case meets the clinical case definition and has an epidemiologic link with a person who has laboratory confirmed hepatitis A (i.e., a household or sexual contact of an infected person during the 15–50 days before the onset of symptoms).

It was discovered in November of 2005, that one of the largest reporting sources of hepatitis A inadvertently stopped reporting cases since September 2004. In November 2005, this source reported more than 300 positive tests going back more than a year, which had to be investigated. For these reasons, the year 2005 was divided into two parts. In the last 5 months, all cases were confirmed as acute hepatitis A if they met the CDC/CSTE criteria, or if the case was unable to be interviewed, they had ALT levels 300 (a marker of liver injury), or if their medical record indicated they had signs and symptoms of hepatitis A.


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