PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is swelling and tenderness of the liver resulting from inflammation caused by the Hepatitis A virus.
How is it spread?
The most common way the disease is spread is from person to person by hands contaminated with feces or as a result of poor personal hygiene when using the toilet. Outbreaks may be due to water or food being contaminated with feces, such as raw shellfish, fruit, or other foods not cooked long enough at the correct temperature.
How is it treated?
There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A infection. However, it is important to see a doctor to follow the course of the infection and confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor may recommend supportive measures such as rest, change in diet, or increase in fluid intake.
How can we prevent Hepatitis A?
- Good sanitation and personal hygiene are key to preventing Hepatitis A. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating or preparing food, after using the bathroom, or after diapering/toileting a small child.
- There is a vaccine available to prevent Hepatitis A infection, which is recommended for persons traveling to areas where Hepatitis A is common (www.cdc.gov/travel).
- If you are exposed to Hepatitis A, receiving treatment within two weeks of exposure may prevent disease.
- Persons with acute Hepatitis A whose work involves food preparation must avoid such work until they are no longer infectious, to avoid transmitting this disease to others.
SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS A
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite and/or nausea
- Dark urine
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)