Hepatitis A is a virus that impacts the liver. Hepatitis A is an easily preventable disease by a two-dose vaccine series. For people who have not been vaccinated, it can be transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water, so washing your hands and vegetables thoroughly are also important prevention strategies. It can but is rarely transmitted through blood exposure. Children who contract hepatitis A are usually not symptomatic, but most adults who get hepatitis A will develop symptoms – often fatigue, brainfog, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), and/or have abdominal pain/distress. Infection can last weeks to months and can require hospitalization. Most infections lead to hepatitis A immunity; however, there are rare cases where hepatitis A can lead to liver failure and death. Outbreaks across the US have been cropping up often among: individuals who engage in anal, perianal, and anal-oral sex; communities without ready access to clean and running water, hygiene, or bathroom facilities; those living in congregate living facilities including but not limited to jails and prisons; and in restaurants where food handlers may knowingly or unknowingly have hepatitis A. Individuals who often travel outside the US may also be at increased risk of contracting hepatitis A.
Learn more about how HEP supports people in preventing hepatitis A!