Keeping Up to Date on Hepatitis Viruses, Vaccines

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 30, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Keeping Up to Date on Hepatitis Viruses, Vaccines

The two boys had just finished their checkups and little sister was going last, as usual. Not to be outdone by her two older brothers, the 6-year-old brushed off all offers of help and leapt up to the exam table with the grace of an Olympic gymnast.

Though big brothers went first, it was their younger sibling who was a step ahead on that particular day. As a toddler, the girl had been given two hepatitis A shots as part of the revised vaccination schedule introduced in 2007.

Her brothers, who were 8 and 9, had not yet received the hepatitis A injections. Their parents thought that it made sense for the boys to play immunization "catch-up" with their little sister, so that all three of their children would be protected against this contagious disease.

Hepatitis A is a virus known to infect the liver, and infection can result in a monthlong illness featuring fever, vomiting and diarrhea, dark urine, clay-colored stools and jaundice. Deaths are rare, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics, with a hepatitis A case fatality rate of .01 percent to 2 percent.

While vaccines have not yet been developed for the rest of the "alphabet" of infectious hepatitis, it is fortunate that safe and effective vaccinations are available against both the hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses.

The first inactivated hepatitis A vaccine was licensed for use in 1995. Childhood vaccination was initially aimed at protecting kids who lived in areas of the country with the highest rates of hepatitis A disease.

The two-dose hepatitis A series was then "rolled out" to other high risk populations, and in a 2007 policy statement, the AAP began recommended routine hepatitis A vaccinations for all children aged 12 to 23 months living in all 50 states.

The AAP estimates that there were approximately 300,000 cases of hepatitis A infections per year in the United States prior to vaccine licensure. By 2003, hepatitis A disease rates were already 76 percent lower than rates seen during the pre-vaccine years.

Academy experts explain that the hepatitis A virus is passed person-to-person through the fecal-oral route, and only rarely transmitted through contaminated blood products.

Hepatitis A can also be acquired after eating uncooked foods, such as salads and sandwiches prepared by infected food handlers, consuming produce tainted during the growing or processing stages, or, infrequently in developed countries such as the U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Keeping Up to Date on Hepatitis Viruses, Vaccines


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?