What is it?

Hepatitis A is a viral disease affecting the liver. It is common in developing countries and is generally associated with poor sanitation and poor hygiene. It is one of the most common vaccine-preventable illnesses in travelers.

What is my risk?

Your risk depends on several factors: destination, length of trip, and your living conditions.

Travelers going to rural areas in developing countries have a higher risk of getting hepatitis A infections than other travelers. However, the risk of hepatitis A exists even for travelers going for short periods of time to urban areas, staying in luxury hotels and who follow good hygiene and water and food precautions.

How is it transmitted?

Hepatitis A is spread by contaminated food and water.  It can also be spread from the hands of a person with hepatitis A. It is rarely spread through sexual contact.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).  Some people have no symptoms, while others have symptoms that last 1-6 months. Most people recover with no lasting liver damage.

Can it be treated?

There is no treatment for hepatitis A, only supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

How can I prevent it?

  1. Get a hepatitis A vaccine (The hepatitis A vaccine is given in 2 doses, 6 months apart. The vaccine is nearly 100% effective)

  2. Watch what you eat (eat food that is cooked and served hot)

  3. Think before you drink (drink bottled or carbonated drinks)

  4. Practice good hygiene and cleanliness