The name kava(-kava) is from Tongan and Marquesan; other names for kava include ʻawa (Hawaiʻi), ava (Samoa), yaqona (Fiji), and sakau (Pohnpei).
The roots of the plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties.
Hepatitis A Virus and Kava
In May 2013, a case of hepatitis A infection was reported to a Western Australian regional public health unit, with infection acquired in Fiji. Following this, 2 further cases were linked to the index case by kava drinking and 1 further case was a household contact of a secondary case. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25409352]
Common Drink Vessel and preparation
"This outbreak highlights that the preparation of kava drink and/or the use of a common drinking vessel could be a vehicle for the transmission of HAV (Hepatitis A Virus)", indicated the researchers from Kalgoorlie.