Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver. It is highly infectious and is spread when traces of faeces containing the virus contaminate hands, objects, water or food. A person is at risk of hepatitis A through contaminated food and drinks or very close personal contact with an infected person.

The illness may last only a few weeks, but some people are seriously ill for up to 6 months. Hepatitis A usually does not cause long-term damage like other types of hepatitis.

Most people with hepatitis A fully recover, but very occasionally it can relapse. The severity of the virus is seen in older age groups and a history of liver disease. In very rare cases, it can cause liver failure. 

Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for:

  • people with medical risk factors, including chronic liver disease and developmental disabilities
  • people whose occupation increases their risk of acquiring hepatitis An eg. plumbers and sewage workers, sex workers, early childhood educators and carers
  • people living in correctional facilities
  • people aged 1 year or older who travel to hepatitis A–endemic areas
  • people whose lifestyle increases their risk of acquiring hepatitis A.eg. injecting drugs and engage in anal sex
  • people with long-term liver disease and people who have had a liver transplant
  • people living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C
Pharmacists in NSW can administer the Hepatitis A vaccine to people aged 5 years and over.

Reference: healthdirect.gov.au

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