Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver. It can be passed easily from contaminated food, water, or close contact with an infected person.
Hepatitis A is caused by a specific virus. It may be spread by:
Hepatitis A is present in stool of people with the infection. They can spread the infection if they do not wash their hands after using the bathroom and touch other objects or food.
Factors that may increase the chances of hepatitis A:
Hepatitis A does not always cause symptoms. Adults are more likely to have them than children.
When present, symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Hepatitis A usually goes away on its own within 2 months. There are no lasting effects in most people once the infection passes. Immunity to the virus occurs after recovery from the infection.
The goals of hepatitis A treatments are to:
In rare cases, the infection is very severe. If the liver is severly damaged, a liver transplant may be needed.
To to help reduce the chances of hepatitis A:
Medical treatments that may help prevent infection:
Check with your doctor to see if you should receive the vaccine.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Liver Foundation
Canadian Institute for Health Information
Canadian Liver Foundation
2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. January 25, 2017. Accessed February 15, 2018.
Hepatitis A questions and answers for the public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm. Updated November 2, 2017. Accessed February 15, 2018.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114868/Hepatitis-A-virus-HAV-infection. Updated January 4, 2018. Accessed February 15, 2018.
Hepatitis A VIS. What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hep-a.html. Accessed February 15, 2018.
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Updated February 6 2018. Accessed February 15, 2018
What I need to know about hepatitis A. National Institute of Digestive and Diabetes and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/viral-hepatitis/hepatitis-a. Updated May 2017. Accessed February 15, 2018.
9/25/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114868/Hepatitis-A-virus-HAV-infection: Updated recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for use of hepatitis A vaccine in close contacts of newly arriving international adoptees. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009;58(36):1006-1007.
Last reviewed February 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.