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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A (Hep A)

What is it?

Hep A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus.


Children under 6 years old often have no symptoms. Older children and adults feel very sick and weak. Symptoms usually appear two to six weeks after a person gets the virus.

The symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite (not wanting to eat)
  • Tiredness
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Yellow skin and eyes

How does it spread?

Hep A can be spread from close, personal contact with an infected person, such as through certain types of sexual contact (like oral-anal sex), caring for someone who is ill, or using drugs with others. Hepatitis A is very contagious, and people can even spread the virus before they feel sick.

  • Person-to-person contact
  • Eating contaminated food or drink
    • Contamination of food with the hepatitis A virus can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking.


Hep A
All children, 12–23 months
1st dose
12 through 23 months
2nd dose
6 months after last dose

All children and adolescents 2–18 years of age who have not previously received hepatitis A vaccine (known as “catch-up” vaccination)

Hepatitis A can affect anyone. Vaccines are available for long-term prevention of hepatitis A infection in persons 1 year of age and older. Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can also help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.