Hepatitis A


The hepatitis A virus, which causes hepatitis A, is a highly contagious liver disease. The virus is one of several kinds of hepatitis virus that can inflame your liver and impair its function.

Hepatitis A is common worldwide when sanitation is inadequate and where food and water are regularly polluted. The virus is highly infectious and can exist for months in the environment without a host. It also spreads through person-to-person contact, leading to major outbreaks in local communities.

The most common ways to contract hepatitis A are through contaminated food or drink, as well as through intimate contact with an infected person or object. Treatment is generally not necessary for mild cases of hepatitis A. Most infected individuals fully recover without experiencing any long-term liver damage.

Hepatitis A doesn’t cause chronic liver illness or persistent liver damage like other hepatitis viruses can. But during infection, hepatitis A occasionally can induce acute liver failure, which is life-threatening.

Good hygiene practices, such as routine hand washing, help stop the virus from spreading. Hepatitis A can be prevented using the hepatitis A vaccine.


After contracting the virus, hepatitis A symptoms often start to show up a few weeks later. However, hepatitis A does not always cause symptoms to appear. Symptoms of doing so include:

  • Feeling more weak and tired than usual
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen, especially on the upper right side just below your lower ribs and over your liver.
  • The stool appears to look gray
  • No appetite
  • Fever (low-grade)
  • Dark urine
  • Pain in the joints
  • Itchy skin
  • Jaundice, or a yellowish discoloration of the skin and eye whites

These signs and symptoms could be rather minor and go gone in a few weeks. But occasionally, hepatitis A causes a serious sickness that lasts for several months.

If you experience hepatitis A symptoms, schedule a visit with your doctor.

You may be protected from infection by receiving the hepatitis A vaccine or an injection of the antibody immunoglobulin within two weeks of being exposed to the hepatitis A virus.

Inquire with your doctor or the public health office in your area about getting the hepatitis A vaccine if:

  • You share a home with a person who has hepatitis A.
  • You have recently engaged in sexual contact with an individual who has hepatitis A.
  • You recently visited regions where the virus is prevalent, such as Mexico, Central America, or South America.
  • You dined in a place where there was a hepatitis A outbreak.


A virus that infects liver cells and results in inflammation is the cause of hepatitis A. The inflammation can impair your liver’s functionality and contribute to other hepatitis A symptoms.

Fecal-oral transmission occurs when even minute amounts of infectious faeces enter another person’s mouth. When you eat or drink something that has been in contact with infected faeces, you could get hepatitis A. Another way to contract the infection is by being in close proximity to someone who has hepatitis A. The virus can survive for a few months on surfaces. Sneezing, coughing, or casual contact do not spread the infection.

The hepatitis A virus can spread specifically through the following channels:

  • Eating food that has been cleaned in contaminated water.
  • Contaminated water consumption.
  • Consuming food that has been handled by a sick person who hasn’t properly washed their hands after using the restroom.
  • Consuming raw shellfish from sewage-contaminated water.
  • Sharing a sexual partner with a virus carrier.
  • Being in close proximity to someone who has the virus, even if they are symptom-free.

Risk factors

You have a higher chance of getting hepatitis A if you:

  • Visit or work in regions where hepatitis A is prevalent.
  • You have recently used recreational substances, including but not limited to those that are injected.
  • Inhabit a home with a hepatitis A carrier.
  • Engage in any kind of sexual activity with a hepatitis A carrier.
  • You are a man who engages in sexual contact with other men.
  • Tested positive with HIV.
  • Does not have a home.