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What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus.

At-risk destinations for hepatitis A.

The virus is endemic (constantly present) in much of the developing world. Many popular travel destinations such as the Caribbean are considered risk areas for unprotected travellers. In fact, you can contract hepatitis A even if you stay at a 5-star resort.

How can I contract hepatitis A?

You can contract the hepatitis A virus by eating food or drinking beverages that have been contaminated by human fecal waste.

Resort activities that may put you at risk for hepatitis A include:

Eating food handled by an infected worker who did not wash his/her hands properly after using the washroom

Eating raw or undercooked seafood and shellfish that lived in sewage-polluted water

Eating salads or produce rinsed in contaminated water

Drinking contaminated water or drinks with contaminated ice

Bathing, showering, or swimming in contaminated water

Hepatitis A can survive up to 10 months in water and on dried surfaces for 7 days.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?

Not all infected adults will experience symptoms.

That means you could contract hepatitis A, and spread the viruses to others, without realizing it.

Symptoms of hepatitis A may include*:

Fever

Nausea

Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

Loss of appetite

Vomiting

Abdominal discomfort

Feeling unwell

Dark urine

Fatigue

* TWINRIX is not indicated to treat the symptoms of, or reduce serious consequences associated with hepatitis A and B.

Possible consequences of hepatitis A*.
Hepatitis A infection can have mild to severe consequences on infected individuals that can last from a few weeks to several months.

Chronic hepatitis and carrier states are not linked with hepatitis A infection.

However, relapsing hepatitis, a condition where a person gets worse again after a period of improvement, can last up to a year in 15% of cases.

While most infected people recover, the older you are, the more severe hepatitis A can be.

Approximately 25% of infected adults are hospitalized.

The case fatality rate, the proportion of deaths per the number of people with a particular medical condition, is 0.1% to 0.3%, and can reach 1.8% in adults 50 years and older.

* TWINRIX is not indicated to treat the symptoms of, or reduce serious consequences associated with hepatitis A and B.

Why risk it?

Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A and B infection.