Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Its symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and yellowing of eyes. The infection usually goes away on its own without treatment and does not cause long-term (chronic) illness. Very rarely, hepatitis A can cause life-threatening liver failure.
Hepatitis A spreads when people eat food or drink water that is contaminated by stool (feces) that has the virus in it. In rare cases, the virus is spread by contact with infected blood or blood products.
You can be infected with HAV only once. After that, you have lifelong immunity to the virus and can't get the disease again. Infection can be prevented by getting immunized with the hepatitis A vaccine.
There is no treatment for hepatitis A other than rest, a balanced diet, and avoiding alcohol.
Current as of: November 14, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
Want More Information?
HealthLink BC, your provincial health line, is as close as your phone or the web any time of the day or night, every day of the year.
Call 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C. or for deaf and hearing-impaired, call 7-1-1.
You can speak with a health service representative, who can also connect you with a:
- registered nurse any time, every day of the year;
- registered dietitian from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday;
- pharmacist from 5pm to 9am, every day of the year.
Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.