Hepatitis A

This type of hepatitis is usually spread by fecal-oral contact, or fecal-infected food and water, and may also be spread by blood-borne infection (which is rare). The following is a list of modes of transmission for hepatitis A:

  • Consuming food made by someone who touched infected feces
  • Drinking water that is contaminated by infected feces - a problem in developing countries with poor sewage removal
  • Touching infected person's feces, which may occur with poor hand washing
  • Outbreaks may occur in child care centers especially when there are children in diapers
  • Residents of American Indian reservations or Native Alaskan villages where hepatitis A may be more common
  • International travel to areas where hepatitis A is common • sexual contact with an infected person
  • Use of intravenous (IV) drugs
  • Blood transfusions (very rare)
  • Vertical transmission (very rare)

How is Hepatitis A Treated?

A vaccine for hepatitis A has been developed and is now available. Because the vaccine is not given routinely, please consult your physician if you have questions about its use. The vaccine is recommended for children who:

  • Live in areas of the country where the infection rate of hepatitis A is above the national average.
  • Live in other areas where there has been a community outbreak
  • Have a blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia
  • Attend child care centers that have had outbreaks of hepatitis A
  • Have chronic liver disease

The vaccine is not recommended for children under 2 years of age.