Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A, sometimes called Hep A or HAV, is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. A virus is a tiny organism (it cannot be seen without a microscope) that needs to get inside living cells to live and reproduce (replicate).

Facts about Hepatitis A

In the UK, it is uncommon to become infected with hepatitis A.
Most reported cases occur after travelling to countries where hepatitis A is more common, by coming into contact with someone who has recently been infected with the virus or, more rarely in the UK, through contaminated food and drink.
The hepatitis A virus is highly infectious; you can get the virus even if you have only been in contact with a very small amount of it.
It is most commonly passed on (transmitted) through ‘faecal-oral’ routes. This means that the virus is passed out in bowel motions (faeces) and finds its way into the mouth (orally); usually through close contact with someone who has the virus, or through food and water contaminated by sewage or the hepatitis A virus.
It is important to wash your hands when you have been to the toilet, to practise good hygiene when handling food and to only drink safe water.
The virus can also be spread through blood to blood contact but this is rare.