Hepatitis A

acute infectious disease of the liver

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Unlike the other common forms of hepatitis (hepatitis B and C), it does not cause chronic (long-term) liver disease.

How is hepatitis A spread?Edit

When a person has hepatitis A, the virus stays in their feces. Hepatitis A is usually spread by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with infected feces.[1] For example, hepatitis A can be spread by:[1]

  • Using ice that was made from contaminated water
  • Eating fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are not cooked, which may have gotten contaminated when a person with hepatitis A prepared them
    • Foods that are not cooked are more likely to spread hepatitis A because cooking food will kill the virus
  • Eating shellfish that lived in contaminated water, and were not cooked well enough to kill the virus

Hepatitis A can also be spread by having sex with someone who has hepatitis A.[1]

Signs and symptomsEdit

Treatment and prognosisEdit

There is no medication that can cure hepatitis A. In most cases, the infection resolves on its own. In most cases, symptoms last less than 2 months, although some people are sick for as long as six months.[1]

Unfortunately, a small number of patients develop Fulminant hepatic failure, which is very serious.


A vaccine is available to prevent hepatitis A, and anti-hepatitis A immunoglobulin is also used.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Hepatitis A: Questions and Answers for the Public". www.cdc.gov. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mayo clinic: Hepatitis symptoms