Hepatitis A And Typhoid Fever: Similarities And Differences


Infections are common and often poses a threat to human health. Millions of people suffer from bacterial and viral infections each year. While some of these diseases tend to clear up quickly, others can remain dormant in the body and even lead to death due to the complications they cause.

In this post, we will take a look at two particular infections – including Hepatitis A and Typhoid, often also referred to as Typhoid Fever. We will take a look at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of each, as well as consider some similarities shared between these diseases.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is an infection caused by a pathogenic viral microorganism. The disease primarily affects the liver. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or, in some cases, more severe. While other forms of the Hepatitis viral infection can cause chronic illness, Hepatitis A only leads to an acute infection. Once a person recovers from this disease, they will be immune to the disease forever.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis A?

Identifying the symptoms of Hepatitis A is important as early treatment can lead to a more successful outcome. The most common symptoms associated with this viral infection include fatigue and discomfort in the abdomen. These symptoms may also be accompanied by the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • The patient may suddenly become nauseous and start to vomit
  • Feces may be clay-colored
  • The patient may not feel hungry or have an appetite
  • Urine may become dark
  • Itching may occur
  • Joint pain is also common
  • A low-grade fever may also develop

What Causes Hepatitis A?

The Hepatitis A infection is caused by a virus known as the hepatitis A virus, which belongs to the Hepatovirus genus and the Picornairidae family of viruses. The disease is spread to an uninfected person through contamination – water and food in unsanitary areas can become contaminated with the virus when an infected person comes in contact with the substances. The virus tends to be present in feces – most people would not even realize that they are contaminating food since microparticles of feces are enough to cause contamination.

Vivaxim is a unique vaccination that offers combined immunization against the Hepatitis A and Typhoid viruses.
Learn more about the Vivaxim vaccine for Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

How Is Hepatitis A Diagnosed?

Hepatitis A can only be diagnosed through a series of blood tests. While a physician can conduct a physical examination and ask the patient about their symptoms, they will not be able to diagnose the patient with the infection without requesting blood tests. The blood tests will look for Immunoglobulin M antibodies against the Hepatitis A virus. When these antibodies are found in the patient’s blood, and their symptoms correspond with the symptoms associated with the infection, then the physician can diagnose the patient with Hepatitis A.

How Is Hepatitis A Treated?

There are no cures for the Hepatitis A infection, but the majority of patients tend to recover fully within a couple of days. The recommended treatment approach includes plenty of rest and ensuring proper fluid intake to avoid dehydration. Patients should also avoid using certain types of medication while they are sick, as well as avoid the use of alcohol, as they may cause problems with the liver. Some medications can be used to assist with managing the symptoms caused by the Hepatitis A infection. Drugs are available to help reduce nausea and stop vomiting. Medications such as paracetamol can also be used to assist in alleviating pain symptoms, as well as to bring down the patient’s fever.

What Are The Complications Of Hepatitis A?

The Hepatitis A viral infection does not lead to chronic disease and will not damage the liver over time as with other Hepatitis infections. A relatively common complication of the disease is jaundice, which may lead to the eyes possessing a yellowish color, as well as the skin.

Rare cases of Hepatitis A may also lead to Acute Liver Failure, a condition that requires urgent medical care and hospitalization of the patient. In some cases, these patients may require a liver transport for survival.

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that is also known as enteric fever. Sometimes, the condition is only referred to as Typhoid. The disease can cause death, especially when treatment is not administered promptly once the symptoms start to appear. Approximately 21.6 million patients are infected with this disease each year. The disease can cause death – in fact, approximately 200,000 people die from the infection each year. The disease is not prevalent in all countries. For example, cases of Typhoid found in Canada, and the United States are usually due to a patient contracting the infection while they are travelling to a high-risk area.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Typhoid Fever?

This bacterial infection can cause various symptoms to develop. It can take up to two weeks for a patient to develop symptoms after being exposed to the bacteria. The symptoms tend to last for up to four weeks in infected patients.

The symptoms that may appear when a patient develops Typhoid fever may include:

  • A loss of appetite
  • Generalized pain may occur that affects various areas of the body
  • Lethargy
  • Some patients experience diarrhea
  • A high fever may occur
  • Headaches may also be experienced

What Causes Typhoid Fever?

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by a bacterium. There are two bacterium species that can cause this infection – including Salmonella enterica and Salmonella paratyphi. When a patient develops Typhoid due to the Salmonella paratyphi bacteria usually causes less severe symptoms.

Typhoid fever can be transmitted to a patient through water or food that has been contaminated with either one of the bacterium species that are known to cause the infection. The bacteria can spread from an infected person to food or water, which then causes contamination and can expose uninfected individuals to the bacteria.

How Is Typhoid Fever Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of Typhoid fever is crucial and should be done as soon as a patient develops symptoms associated with the disease. This disease cannot be diagnosed only through a physical examination or by asking a patient about the symptoms they are suffering from. Should a physician expect a patient might be suffering from the Typhoid viral infection, then they will usually request further tests to be done to determine if the bacteria that causes the disease is present in the patient’s body?

Three different samples can be used to identify the presence of Typhoid-causing bacteria. This may include blood samples, urine samples, or stool samples. The sample collected from the patient will be closely examined with the help of a microscope. Scientists will try to determine if either of the bacterium known to cause the infection is present in the samples that were submitted. In some cases, more than one test may be required to provide an accurate diagnosis of this infection.

What Are The Treatment Options For Typhoid Fever?

Treatment is vital to help improve the prognosis of a patient once they develop this bacterial infection. Since this disease is caused by a bacterium, the patient needs to be treated with an appropriate antibiotic to help kill off the bacteria, which will then help to ease the symptoms. The majority f patients who are treated with the right dose of antibiotics tend to make a full recovery within the first ten days following the initial development of their symptoms.

Similarities Among Hepatitis A And Typhoid Fever

Even though Hepatitis A is a viral infection and Typhoid is caused by a bacterium that infiltrates the human body, certain characteristics are shared among the two infections.

Firstly, the methods of transmission for these two diseases share similar characteristics. In particular, it has been found that the virus that causes Hepatitis A and the bacteria that leads to the Typhoid infection can contaminate water and food. Thus, both of these infections can be transmitted to a person when they eat food that has been contaminated or when they drink water with traces of these pathogens.

Furthermore, these two diseases also share the same vaccine. In Canada, the most commonly used vaccine is known as Vivaxim. This particular vaccine is effective in preventing both Hepatitis A and the Typhoid bacterial infection. The vaccine is recommended only for patients that are over the age of 12. A single dose of the Vivaxim vaccine provides adequate protection, which should be administered to individuals before they travel to locations where these conditions are common.

It should be noted; however, that additional vaccines may be required to provide a patient with longer-term protection against the Hepatitis A viral infection.

Conclusion

Both Hepatitis A and Typhoid are caused by infectious pathogens. The Hepatitis A is caused by a virus, while Typhoid is rather caused by a bacterium. While both of these infections can be transmitted to a person through contaminated water and food, they do tend to cause different types of symptoms, as well as complications. Understanding these symptoms, as well as the causes, can help a person identify the presence of the infections early and help them obtain adequate treatment early on. The same vaccine can be used to protect a person against both of these infectious diseases.