Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. The disease is spread primarily through food or water contaminated by stool from an infected person.

Hepatitis A is one of the few foodborne or waterborne illnesses that can be prevented by  vaccination. Vaccination is recommended for all children age 12 months and older, for travelers to certain countries, and for people at high risk for infection with the virus.


Raw or undercooked shellfish from contaminated waters, raw produce, contaminated drinking water, uncooked foods and cooked foods that are not reheated after contact with an infected food handler

Incubation Period

28 days average (ranges from 15 to 50 days)


Diarrhea, dark urine, jaundice, fever, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite

Duration of Illness

Variable, from 2 weeks to 3 months

What Do I Do?

See your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of hepatitis A or think you may have been exposed to the virus. Tests can accurately diagnose whether you’ve been infected.

How Can I Prevent It?

  • Avoid eating raw oysters or other raw or undercooked shellfish.
  • For adults: Get vaccinated if you are exposed to a person infected with hepatitis A, or if you are planning to travel to a country with high rates of hepatitis A
  • For children: Get vaccinated against hepatitis A.

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