Hepatitis A Fact Sheet*
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Adults will have signs and symptoms more often than children.
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)
- There is no chronic (long-term) infection.
- Once you have had hepatitis A you cannot get it again.
- About 15% of people infected with HAV will have prolonged or relapsing symptoms over a 6-9 month period.
- HAV is found in the stool (feces) of persons with hepatitis A.
- HAV is usually spread from person toperson by putting something in the mouth (even though it may look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A.
PERSONS AT RISK OF INFECTION
- Household contacts of infected persons.
- Sex contacts of infected persons.
- Persons, especially children, living in areas with increased rates of hepatitis A during the baseline period from 1987-1997.
- Persons traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common.
- Men who have sex with men.
- Injecting and non-injecting drug users.
- Hepatitis A vaccine is the best protection.
- Short-term protection against hepatitis A is available from immuneglobulin. It can be given before and within 2 weeks after coming in contact with HAV.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing and eating food.
Vaccine is recommended for the following persons 2 years of age and older:
- Travelers to areas with increased rates of hepatitis A
- Men who have sex with men
- Injecting and non-injecting drug users
- Persons with clotting-factor disorders (e.g. hemophilia)
- Persons with chronic liver disease
- Children living in areas with increased rates of hepatitis A during the baseline period from 1987-1997.
TRENDS & STATISTICS
- Occurs in epidemics both nationwide and in communities.
- During epidemic years, the number of reported cases reached 35,000.
- In the late 1990s, hepatitis A vaccine was more widely used and the number of cases reached historic lows.
- One-third of Americans had evidence of past infection (immunity).
*Based on information published by the Centers for Disease Control.
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