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Hepatitis A Antibody Test, IgM

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About Our Hepatitis A Antibody Test, IgM

This blood test is used to detect the presence of IgM antibodies for the hepatitis A virus. This test helps diagnose acute hepatitis A and is also used for differential diagnosis of hepatitis.

IgM antibodies can be detected as soon as 2 weeks post exposure. This test is highly accurate at 3-6 weeks post exposure and is 99% conclusive after 12 weeks.

Hepatitis A is a highly infectious liver disease that affects the function of the liver. The virus is spread through stool from an infected person. It is considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD) because it can be contracted during oral-anal sexual contact. However, it can also be contracted during close contact with an infected individual or contaminated food or drink. As the viral material can be found in the blood, it may also be transmitted through blood.  

The hepatitis A virus is able to survive outside the body for months. It averages a 28-day incubation period between infection and symptoms. Infection can be prevented if you have immunity through the hepatitis A vaccine or previous infection.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, dark urine)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale or clay-colored stool
  • Joint pain

How serious is hepatitis A?

The infection can range in severity and length. It can be mild and last a few weeks or more severe, lasting a few months. In rare cases, it can lead to death.

Is there a cure?

Although there is no cure for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis A doesn’t become chronic like Hepatitis B or C. With proper rest and hydration, most people are able to cure themselves. Additionally, there is treatment available to help manage symptoms.

Who should be tested for hepatitis?

People at risk for hepatitis A include those who:

  • Have direct or household contact with an infected individual, such as a family member or caregiver
  • Eat food handled by an infected person who has not properly washed or sanitized their hands
  • Have had sexual contact with an infected person, even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Have been exposed to a foodborne or waterborne outbreak
  • Live or travel to areas of low or poor sanitation, including parts of Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe
  • Use injection/noninjection drugs and share needles/drug equipment

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