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:
- Loss of appetite (not wanting to eat)
- Stomach pain
- 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.
All children, 12–23 months
12 through 23 months
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.