Hepatitis A is caused by infection with the hepatitis A virus. The hepatitis virus is usually spread when a person ingests tiny amounts of contaminated fecal matter. The hepatitis A virus infects the liver cells and causes inflammation. The inflammation can impair liver function and cause other signs and symptoms of hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A virus can be transmitted several ways, such as:

  • When someone with the virus handles the food you eat without first carefully washing his or her hands after using the toilet
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Eating raw shellfish from water polluted with sewage
  • Being in close contact with a person who's infected — even if that person has no signs or symptoms
  • Having sex with someone who has the virus
Sep. 01, 2011

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