At least 19 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed in Auckland, as the public health service works to contain the spread of the disease.
acute or fulminant hepatitis
Hepatitis A virus is a non-enveloped single strand RNA virus. The delay of incubation is around one month. The severity of the clinical signs increases with the going age of asymptomatic case in the young children (< 6 years old) with cases of acute or fulminant hepatitis. The transmission via the fecal-oral route is the most usual although other ways of transmission such as parental, sexual, salivary or urinary exist. There is no specific curative treatment but a vaccine is available.
After excretion in human stool, due to their structural properties, hepatitis A virus can resist to different physical and chemical treatments. Adsorbed on particles, they can survive in different kind of environment for a long period. Food can be contaminated by a food-handler during the various stages of food production or via the environment. Thanks to their structural properties, hepatitis A viruses can persit to different food processes. The consumption of contaminated food can lead to epidemics in the population.
real time RT-PCR method
The diagnostic by cellular culture or ELISA is not adapted to the detection of Hepatitis A virus in environmental or food samples. Molecular techniques (real time RT-PCR) are the methods of choice for Hepatitis A detection after extraction and viral RNA purification from the sample.
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