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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Its symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and yellowing of eyes. The infection usually goes away on its own without treatment and does not cause long-term (chronic) illness. Very rarely, hepatitis A can cause life-threatening liver failure.

Hepatitis A spreads when people eat food or drink water that is contaminated by stool (feces) that has the virus in it. In rare cases, the virus is spread by contact with infected blood or blood products.

You can be infected with HAV only once. After that, you have lifelong immunity to the virus and can't get the disease again. Infection can be prevented by getting immunized with the hepatitis A vaccine.

There is no treatment for hepatitis A other than rest, a balanced diet, and avoiding alcohol.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Last Revised August 30, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 30, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.