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.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology