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Hepatitis A

What is Hepatitis A?

  • Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver that is caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is primarily found in stool and can be spread to people through contaminated foods, water, and drinks.

  • The Hepatitis A virus causes inflammation of the liver.

  • Hepatitis A virus is very infectious, and small amounts of HAV can cause infections.

What is at risk of Hepatitis A?

  • Travellers to Hepatitis A endemic countries as 44-54% of HA cases in Canada are linked to travel

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)

  • Close contacts of children adopted from HA-endemic countries

What are symptoms of Hepatitis A?

  • Some people may not present with symptoms while others may have stomach pain, fatigue, nausea and jaundice and symptoms may last up to 2 months in some cases. 

  • Majority of the cases of infection are self-limiting, and some patients recover completely with supportive treatment. 

How to avoid catching Hepatitis A?

  • Make sure you are eating and drinking in a clean, good quality place while traveling since HAV can be picked up from contaminated food  and water especially in areas with poor sanitation.

  • Drink bottle water or water you know that has been properly treated or sanitized.

  • Hot cooked food is a better choice than raw food

  • Peel fruits and vegetables yourself

What about the Hepatitis A vaccine?

  • The hepatitis A vaccine provides protection from this virus, and vaccinations are typically 2 doses given 6 months apart.

  • Research shows that vaccination can provide protection for 40 years or more.

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