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Hepatitis A Vaccine: Where to Get It and Why You Need It

What Is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a serious disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). The disease primarily affects the liver and can, in rare cases, lead to liver failure and/or death. Severe complications are most common in persons over 50 years of age or in those with other liver diseases.

How Does Hepatitis A Spread?

Hepatitis A is most often transmitted via the consumption of contaminated food or water. It can also be contracted through intimate contact with an infected person.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Symptoms of Hepatitis A usually appear two to six weeks after exposure and can persist for up to two months. In severe cases, the illness can last for up to six months. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever, fatigue and/or joint pain
  • Loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and diarrhea
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)

Hepatitis A Vaccine for Travel

The vaccine contains inactivated virus and can prevent the disease. It is often recommended for those who are traveling to a country where the virus is common.

Your doctor may recommend a Hepatitis A vaccine before travel to the following countries:

This is not a comprehensive list. If your destination country is not listed, talk to the travel medicine specialists at the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health for more information about recommended vaccines.