- Hepatitis A is a virus that attacks the liver.
- Hepatitis A is found in the stool (feces) of infected persons and is spread through contaminated food and water or through close contact with an infected person.
- Symptoms of hepatitis A may include fatigue, fever, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
- Some people, especially young children, may not have any symptoms.
- For every 1,000 people infected, 1 to 3 will die.
- The risk of dying from hepatitis A infection is higher in people 50 years of age and older.
The hepatitis A vaccine is provided free to:
- All Aboriginal children and adolescents aged 6 months to 18 years.
- People at high risk of hepatitis A infection, such as people with chronic liver disease, people who use injection drugs, and men who have sex with men.
The vaccine is also recommended, but not provided free, to:
- People likely to come in contact with or spread the hepatitis A virus through their work, such as food handlers.
- People who are travelling to countries where hepatitis A is more common.
Anyone who is not eligible for a free hepatitis A vaccine can purchase it at most pharmacies and travel clinics.