Taking a Look at Hepatitis

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The site of the primary infection is in the alimentary tract, a short prodromal or pre-icteric phase, varying from two to seven days, usually precedes the onset of jaundice. The most prominent symptoms in this phase are fever, headache, muscular and abdominal pain, anorexia, nausea, vomiting and sometimes arthralgia. Hepatomegaly and leukopenia are often present during this period. In typical cases the urine becomes dark, and the stools pale before appearance of yellow discoloration of the mucous membranes and appearance of jaundice about ten days after onset of the general symptoms. Fever and most of the general symptoms usually subside within a few days of jaundice, but in severe cases both general and abdominal symptoms may become further aggravated at this phase. Jaundice is often accompanied by itching and sometimes by urticarial or papular rashes. Liver is usually enlarged and liver function tests are abnormal with highly elevated levels of serum alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) and serum aspartate aminotransaminase (AST).

Prevention methods include frequent hand washing before eating and preparing meals. International travelers to developing countries should use bottled water or boiled water for drinking and brushing teeth, and avoid ice cubes. It is better to eat well-cooked heated food and to peel raw fruits and vegetables. Surveillance and control procedures should include: providing safe drinking water and proper disposal of sanitary waste, monitoring water beds
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