Hepatitis A

Algoma Public Health

Hepatitis A

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What is it?

  • A viral disease that attacks the liver.
  • Most common among daycare and school aged children, younger adults and men who have sex with men.
  • Convalescence is prolonged but complete recovery without complications is the general rule.

 What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms develop suddenly and usually last 1-2 weeks
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Jaundice (yellow skin/eyes)
  • Severity of symptoms increases with age
  • Many have no symptoms

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Sault Ste. Marie: 705-942-4646

Blind River: 705-356-2551

Elliot Lake: 705-848-2314

Wawa: 705-856-7208


How quickly do symptoms develop?

  • Within 15 to 50 days after coming in contact with the virus. This is referred to as the incubation period.

How is it spread?

  • The hepatitis A virus is excreted in the stool of infected persons.
  • Spread from person to person by food or water contaminated with infected stool (e.g. food handlers who don’t wash their hands)
  • From raw or undercooked shellfish harvested from polluted water.
  • From contaminated fruits and vegetables from underdeveloped countries.
  • By sexual contact with an infected person.
  • By sharing needles and drug-related equipment.

 How long is it contagious?

  • During the later half of the incubation period and continuing for about a week after onset of jaundice.
  • Infected persons should not attend daycare or school during this time.

 How is it treated?

  • There is no treatment for the infected person.
  • Household and sexual contacts of an infected person may be advised to have an injection of Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin.

 What can you do?

  • Infected persons should avoid preparing or handling food for others.
  • Wash your hands after going to the toilet, changing a diaper and before preparing food or eating.
  • Dispose of diapers in a sanitary manner.
  • Drink from a safe water supply.
  • Become immunized with hepatitis A vaccine.


If you are traveling outside Canada or U.S.A. check with the Algoma Public Health regarding recommended vaccines and precautions.


Date of Creation:  June 1, 2015

Last Modified:      October 2, 2018