What it is: Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV).
How it spreads: HAV is spread from person to person through contact with feces (stool) of people who are infected, which can easily happen if someone does not wash his or her hands properly. You can also get Hepatitis A from food, water or objects contaminated with the virus. A person who has Hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.
What it causes: Hepatitis A can cause:
- fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and or joint pain
- dark colored urine and or/ pale feces
- Severe stomach pains and diarrhea (mainly in children)
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, clay-colored bowel movements)
The sypmtoms usually appear 2-6 weeks after exposure and usually last less than 2 months, although some people can be ill for as long as 6 months.
If you have Hepatitis A you may be too ill to work. Children often do not have symptoms, but most adults do. You can spread HAV without having symptoms. Hepatitis A can cause lover failure and even death, although this is rare and occurs more commonly in persons 50 years of age or older and persons with other liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C. Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent Hepatitis A.
What to do: Some people should routinely be vaccinated with Hepatitis A vaccine:
- All children starting at age 1 year
- Men who have sex with men.
- Persons who use recreational drugs, whether injected or not
- Persons with chronic or long-term liver disease.
- Persons who are treated with clotting factor concentrates.
- Persons who work with HAV-infected primates or who work with HAV in research laboratories.
- Persons with direct contact with others who have Hepatitis A
- Persons who plan to travel or live in places where Hepatitis A is common
Hepatitis A vaccine series consists of 2 doses of vaccine separated by 6 months.
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How to get vaccinated: Vaccinations are available at CCCHD on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 7:30am-5pm by appointment. Call 937-390-5600 for an appointment. Contact your healthcare provider for information on the hepatitis A vaccine.
last updated and reviewed: 6-13-18 PLF/ ES