Hepatitis A

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by a virus. It is usually spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the virus. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A may include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Outbreaks are common in areas with poor sanitation.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

How is Hepatitis A Spread?

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually spread when a person ingests contaminated food or water, usually from contact with another person who is infected. This can happen through close person-to-person contact, and by sharing eating utensils or food. It can also be spread through oral-anal contact and sexual activity. It is most common in areas with poor sanitation.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A blood test is used to diagnose hepatitis A. There is no specific treatment or cure for hepatitis A; however, it usually resolves on its own within a few weeks. Treatment may include rest, avoid alcohol, drink plenty of fluids, and take over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen, to help with pain or fever.

Prevention of Hepatitis A

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often
  • Avoid close contact with those who have hepatitis A
  • Cook food thoroughly and avoid eating raw or undercooked foods
  • Make sure your food is prepared in a clean environment
  • Get the hepatitis A vaccine if recommended
  • Travelers to areas where outbreaks have occurred should take special precautions to avoid infection