Website Header that reads 'Hepatitis A'

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.

Where can I learn more about Hepatitis A?

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)

RESOURCES

Hepatitis A: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | English | Spanish | Tagalog | Khmer
Hepatitis A: Prevention and Control | English | Spanish | Tagalog | Khmer

QUESTIONS

If you have any questions about hepatitis A, please call our Public Health Information hotline:
Telephone with solid fill (562) 570-7907 

Frequently asked questions

 
  • What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis A?

    Not everyone with hepatitis A has symptoms. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2–7 weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people can feel sick for as long as 6 months.

    Symptoms can include:

    • Dark urine, pale stool or diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
    • Low appetite
    • Nausea, stomach pain, throwing up
  • How does hepatitis A spread?

    The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool or blood of people who are infected. The hepatitis A virus is spread when someone ingests even a small amount of the virus through:

    • Close contact with someone who is infected with hepatitis A

    • Eating food or drinking beverages contaminated with hepatitis A.

  • How is hepatitis A treated?

    To treat the symptoms of hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend resting, eating a well-balanced diet, and making sure you get enough fluids. If you have been infected with HAV in the past, you can’t get infected again. Once you recover from hepatitis A, you develop antibodies that protect you from getting sick from it again.

  • How can I protect myself from hepatitis A?

    Get Vaccinated.
    Get two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine.

    Practice Good Hygiene.
    Wash hands with soap and water.

    Avoid Preparing Food When Sick.
    Don't cook for otheres or share food when sick.

  • Who should get vaccinated for hepatitis A?

    Children:

    • All children aged 12–23 months
    • All children and adolescents 2–18 years of age who have not previously received hepatitis A vaccine (known as “catch up” vaccination)

    People at increased risk for hepatitis A:

    • International travelers
    • Men who have sex with men
    • People who use or inject drugs (all those who use illegal drugs)
    • People with occupational risk for exposure
    • People who anticipate close personal contact with an international adoptee
    • People experiencing homelessness

    People at increased risk for severe disease from hepatitis A infection:

    • People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C
    • People with HIV

    Other people recommended for vaccination:

    • Pregnant women at risk for hepatitis A or risk for severe outcome from hepatitis A infection
    • Any person who requests vaccination

    For more information on the Hepatitis A vaccine, learn more here.