Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is one of the more common causes of acute hepatitis, infecting an estimated 1.5 million people annually.1 It is transmitted by the fecal-oral route.2 The incubation period ranges between 15 – 50 days.3 In high endemic countries HAV outbreaks generally occur in crowded institutions such as prisons or schools. In low endemic countries infected food handlers are the major source of the infection.4
The disease has not been known to follow a chronic course, nor does the virus persist in the organism.5 Anti-HAV IgM antibodies can be detected in the serum within 2 weeks after the initial HAV infection.6 After natural infection, the patient usually acquires lifelong immunity and anti-HAV IgG antibodies can be detected, providing protection against the disease if the body is reinfected.7
Vaccines against hepatitis A and combined vaccines against hepatitis A and B are available. After vaccination against hepatitis A, anti-HAV IgG antibodies can be detected within 2 weeks.8 In the case of complete immunisation, protection usually lasts for years.9
The Elecsys® Anti-HAV test is an immunoassay for the quantitative determination of total (IgM and IgG) antibodies to HAV in human serum and plasma. It is used as an aid to detect a past or existing HAV infection and also to monitor the immune response after vaccination.