Hepatitis A is classified under the genus Hepatovirus within the family Picornaviradae. In the United States,it is the predominant form of viral hepatitis, with 23,000 cases reported in 1992. The mode of transmission is primarily through the fecal-oral route. The highest risk factors linked with contracting the virus are personal contact as well as ingestion of contaminated food, water, and bivalve mollusks. In pediatrics,hepatitis A occurs most frequently in child care centers, intensive care nurseries, institutions for the developmentally disabled, and among children who travel from countries that have a low prevalence to countries that have a high prevalence of the infection. Transmission of hepatitis A has been shown to occur by intravenous drug use and through blood product transfusions, although these routes are uncommon. Vertical transmission of hepatitis A from mother to neonate has not been demonstrated.

The incubation period of hepatitis A is from 15 to 40 days....

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