Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection that occurs when infected fecal-contaminated food or drink is consumed, or through close bodily contact with an infected individual. Consumption of a microscopic amount of fecal material can cause hepatitis A infection.
Good handwashing and personal hygiene, as well as effective cleaning and disinfection practices can prevent a hepatitis A infection. Unhoused individuals, individuals living in residential institutions, and children in child care settings that do not use effective disinfection practices are at high risk for contracting hepatitis A.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include, but are not limited to:
Hepatitis A symptoms first appear 2 weeks to 6 months after consuming fecal-contaminated food or drink, or from other exposure. Symptoms can last for 2 weeks to up to 6 months. Most adults and older children will have hepatitis A symptoms. Most children under the age of 6 years will have no symptoms. Older adults and individuals with pre-existing health conditions may be susceptible to dehydration and may require hospitalization.