Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The hepatitis A virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation that affects your liver's ability to function.
You're most likely to contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who's already infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don't require treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.
Practicing good hygiene — including washing your hands often — is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Effective vaccines are available for people who are most at risk.
Sep. 01, 2011
- Sjogren MH, et al. Hepatitis A. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed July 25, 2011.
- Hepatitis A FAQs for the public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/A/aFAQ.htm. Accessed July 25, 2011.
- What I need to know about hepatitis A. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hepa_ez/index.aspx. Accessed July 25, 2011.
- Hepatitis nutrition therapy. Nutrition Care Manual. American Dietetic Association. http://nutritioncaremanual.org/index.cfm. Accessed Aug. 3, 2011.
- Milk thistle. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/milkthistle/ataglance.htm. Accessed July 25, 2011.