HoG Handbook

Hepatitis A


VirusPeople with Hepatitis A will have the virus in their stool (bowel movement).  If they don't wash their hands well after going to the bathroom, they can pass the virus on to others.  People changing the diaper of an infected baby have been known to spread the virus.  You can also get Hepatitis A from eating food or drinking water that has been dirtied by stool.  A person with Hepatitis A will have the virus in his blood for a short time.  If he gives blood then, the virus can be passed through the blood.

Hepatitis A is usually a mild disease.  Most children younger than six years old who get Hepatitis A do not have symptoms.  Older children and adults who get Hepatitis A usually have symptoms including jaundice (yellow color of the skin and eyes).

It usually takes about 28 days after someone gets the virus before he or she has symptoms.  The symptoms of Hepatitis A tend to come on suddenly.  They include fever, feeling tired, loss of appetite, feeling sick to your stomach, stomach pain, dark colored urine, and jaundice.  The symptoms usually last less than two months.

There are blood tests that can tell if someone has Hepatitis A or had it in the past.  Once you have Hepatitis A, you can't get it again.  A vaccine (shot) to prevent Hepatitis A came out in 1995.  Everyone who uses factor concentrate should get the Hepatitis A vaccine.

Hepatitis A can be especially serious for someone who has Hepatitis C.  The Hepatitis A virus can destroy the liver and cause death in those with chronic Hepatitis C.