Hepatitis A

Overview

  • Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by a virus. The virus is found in the feces (poop) of infected people.
  • The hepatitis A virus is spread when invisible particles of feces (poop) get into your mouth. You can get hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or water, during sex, or just by living with an infected person.
  • If you get infected with hepatitis A, your skin and eyes can turn yellow. You can get very sick for weeks and may need to be hospitalized, and even die. Some people don’t feel sick, but they can still spread the virus to others.
  • You are more likely to be infected with the virus if you travel or work outside the U.S., use recreational drugs, have sex with an infected person, are homeless or have unstable housing arrangements, or care for a recently arrived unvaccinated child from a country where hepatitis A is common.
  • You are more likely to have severe illness if you have chronic liver disease or HIV infection.
  • Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A Vaccine Schedule

Hepatitis A Vaccine Schedule

Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are recommended for all children beginning at age 12 months. The two doses should be separated by at least 6 months. Children and adolescents through 18 years old who have not previously been vaccinated should be vaccinated routinely at any age. If you didn’t get the vaccine as a child, you should get vaccinated now if you are in a group at risk for hepatitis A, or just if you want to be protected.

RESOURCES

Should You Be Vaccinated Against Hepatitis A?

A checklist of reasons for getting the hepatitis A vaccine, from Immunize.org.

Hepatitis A Is a Serious Liver Disease

A fact sheet and Q&A for hepatitis A, from Immunize.org.

Hepatitis A: Questions and Answers

Hepatitis A disease and vaccine information, from Immunize.org

Hepatitis A, B, and C: Learn the Differences

Information on symptoms, risk factors, prevention, treatment, and more, from Immunize.org.

Partner Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Viral Hepatitis: Hepatitis A

Fact sheets, resources, multimedia, and more for parents and children from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Immunization: Hepatitis A

Find easy-to-understand vaccine information for yourself or your loved ones from the Department of Health & Human Services.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
A Look at Each Vaccine: Hepatitis A Vaccine

Questions and answers about hepatitis A and vaccines from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Hepatitis A: What You Should Know

A hepatitis A fact sheet and Q&A from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A Spanish-language version is also available.

PERSONAL TESTIMONIES

Tom

A traveling filmmaker reflects on the high cost of hepatitis A virus infection.

Read more.

Allison Jester

High school student Allison Jester describes how a hepatitis A infection disrupted her senior year.

Read more.
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HEPATITIS A PHOTOS

Warning: Some of the images are graphic.

View All Hepatitis A Photos