Hepatitis A

What Is It?

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that can inflame and temporarily damage the liver. Unlike other forms of hepatitis, hepatitis A rarely causes severe illness and does not lead to a persistent infection. Spread of the virus most often occurs from ingestion of contaminated food or water. It also can be passed during sexual practices that involve the anus. In rare cases, hepatitis A can be spread by contact with the blood of a person who has the infection, for instance, when intravenous drug users share needles.

Many people have been exposed to hepatitis A. Symptoms can be very mild. So, you may not even be aware that you had the infection.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »