Hepatitis A

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The disease

  • 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 vaccine

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.

Click here for a complete list of vaccine recommendations and eligibility criteria.

Anyone who is not eligible for a free hepatitis A vaccine can purchase it at most pharmacies and travel clinics.

Date last updated: 
Monday, Sep 23, 2019
Date last reviewed: 
Wednesday, Nov 01, 2017