The Hepatitis A antibody is produced in response to infection with the hepatitis A virus or vaccine. IgM (immunoglobulin M) is the first antibody produced by the body when it is exposed to a virus and is used for early detection of infection. IgM antibodies to HAV are produced in patients who clinically present with acute hepatitis, such as jaundice, dark urine, pale colored stools, fever, and loss of appetite. IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies develop later and remain present for many years, protecting the person against further infection by the same virus. A total antibody test (which detects both IgM and IgG antibodies) detects both current and previous infection with HAV and is also positive after receiving the hepatitis A vaccine. It is presumed that once the body has been exposed to the virus lasting immunity develops.« Back to Glossary Index
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