Student Nurse Laura

Orem – "creative effort of one human being to help another human being."


Posted by Laura on October 31, 2010



Hepatitis A Virus: HAV is spread by the fecal-oral route & from person-person by ingestion of contaminated food or water and rarely by blood transfusion. Most common form of hepatitis in children. (infected stool can be present on doorknobs or diapers) Can be so mild, many are unaware they have the illness. Typically a short lived virus and does NOT cause chronic liver disease. 


Hepatitis B Virus: HBV is spread by blood or body fluids. Also called serum hepatitis. Important because HBV infections that occur in childhood can lead to fatal consequences. 

  • Up to 90% of infants infected prenatally from HBV-infected mothers.
  • 25-50% infected children before age 5 yrs old.
  • Vaccine should be given in the “vastus lateralis” muscle (infants) deltoid (toddlers & children)


Hepatitis C Virus: HCV is spread by direct contact with infected person’s blood. Can lead to chronic liver disease and is leading reason for liver transplant in US. 

  • Blood transfusions
  • From mother to newborn.


Signs and Symptoms

Hepatitis, in its early stages, may cause flu-like symptoms, including: 

  • malaise (a general ill feeling)
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)


If hepatitis progresses, its symptoms begin to point to the liver as the source of illness. Chemicals normally secreted by the liver begin to build up in the blood, which causes: 

  • jaundice
  • foul breath
  • a bitter taste in the mouth
  • dark or “tea-colored” urine
  • white, light, or “clay-colored” stools


There can also be abdominal pain, which may be centered below the right ribs (over a tender, swollen liver) or below the left ribs (over a tender spleen).


A hepatitis A vaccine is available to kids 12 months and older. In the past, the vaccine was only recommended to those at high risk for the disease (such as those who lived in or traveled to locations with high rates of HAV), but now the vaccine is available to anyone who desires immunity to hepatitis A. There’s also a hepatitis B vaccine, which should be given to both children and adults as part of routine immunization. Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine for hepatitis C — animal studies indicate that it may not be possible because the virus doesn’t cause the kind of response that would be needed for a vaccine to be successful.

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