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General Health : Infectious Disease Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Kutcher's party haunted by hepatitis A, what you need to know
By Sue Mueller
Feb 21, 2008 - 4:25:27 PM

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THURSDAY FEB 21, 2008 ( -- Hepatitis A has been occasionally reported particularly on events involving celebrities.  It's reported today that Ashton Kutcher's happy 30th birthday party was inconvenienced by a possible hepatitis A outbreak.  The party was held on Feb 7 at Socialista, a fancy New York nightclub.

It's reported that a bartender might have spread hepatitis A to potentially 700-800 people including Kutcher's guests such as Bruce Willis, Gwynetch Paltrow, Madonna and others who visited the club during that day.

Although the risk of getting infected is low, the New York City Health Department officials called upon the visitors to get vaccinated.  But today could be the last day for people to get a hepatitis A vaccine as this vaccine needs to be given within 14 days of coming in contact with the virus.
The bartender was reportedly just found infected with hepatitis A. He may have been infected during a trip to Honduras. It remains unknown how many guests to the party were infected.

Kutcher is the creator, executive producer, and host of the MTV celebrity prank show Punk'd. He is known for his roles in films such as Dude, Where's My Car?, Just Married, The Butterfly Effect , and The Guardian. He is married to actress Demi Moore, according to wikipedia.

The questions and answers on hepatitis A below were compiled by editors based on material from the CDC.  No individual opinions have been incorporated in this set of questions and answers.  It's published for those who might be interested in knowing more about the infection.

Hepatitis A: What you need to know

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease caused by a hepatitis A virus which can infect anyone. In the United States, hepatitis A can occur sporadically or epidemically.

What are the signs and symptoms for hepatitis A?

Adults with hepatitis A have symptoms more often than children, including jaundice, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and loss of appetite.

In children aged younger than 6 years, 70 percent of infections are asymptomatic.  In older children and adults, symptoms show up in more than 70 percent of cases.

Symptoms usually last less than 2 months but 10 to 15 percent of symptomatic persons can have the disease for up to 6 months.

What is the incubation period for hepatitis A?

On average, the incubation period for hepatitis A is 28 days.  It can be any day between 15 and 50 days.

How long can the hepatitis A virus live outside the body?

It can live outside the body for months.  It can be killed by heating to 185 degrees F or 85 degree C for one minute.

What are the long term effects of hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A does not become chronic and there is no long term infection.  Once you have had the disease, you will not get it again.  About 15 percent of people infected with hepatitis A have prolonged or relapsing symptoms that can last 6 to 9 months.  It is often that the infection does not cause long term effects.

How does hepatitis A spread?

Hepatitis A virus is highly contagious and easy to spread.  People often get infected with the virus through food or water contaminated with feces of persons with the disease.  The disease can also spread from person to person through something the infected person has touched.

Who are at high risk of hepatitis A infection?

People at higher risk of hepatitis A infection include those who have household contacts and sexual contacts of infected persons, those who travel to countries where hepatitis A is common, men who have sex with men and users of injection and non-injection drugs.

How can I prevent hepatitis A infection?

One way to prevent it is to get immunized with hepatitis A vaccine, which can be given before and within 2 weeks of coming in contact with hepatitis A virus.  Good personal hygiene practice also helps prevent the disease.  Washing hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing and eating food is believed to help prevent the spread of the infection.

How is hepatitis A infection diagnosed?

Because the clinical characteristics of this infection is the same as all types of acute viral hepatitis, the diagnosis of hepatitis A must be confirmed by a positive serologic test for immunoglobulin M or IgM antibody.

How common is hepatitis A in the United States?

In 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,579 acute symptomatic cases of hepatitis A were reported. The incidence was 1.2/100,000, meaning it is extremely rare.  But the possible cases are estimated at 32,000.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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