Laboratory diagnosis

Acute hepatitis A is not distinguishable from other forms of viral hepatitis on clinical grounds, although the diagnosis may be inferred in a patient with typical symptoms and the appropriate epidemiologic clues. Liver function tests, especially serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), are sensitive measures of parenchymal liver damage, but are not specific for hepatitis A.

The diagnosis of acute hepatitis A is most commonly confirmed by detection of specific anti-HAV immunoglobulin M (IgM), using either ELISA or radioimmunoassay.

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