Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A

An unpleasant bug which can cause nausea, abdominal pain and even liver failure. Travellers across most of the world should beware of contaminated food and water or close contact with infected people.

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Key Facts around Hepatitis A

Recovering from hepatitis A can disrupt daily life for months and lead to long periods off work.1

  • How do people catch this disease?

    By eating food or drinking water contaminated by faeces from someone who has the virus.1,3 Hepatitis A can also be caught through sex with an infected person (especially for men who have sex with men) or through injecting drugs these are the main routes of infection in high-income countries are.1

  • Which countries are affected?

    Hepatitis A is found in every country but the risk is higher in South America, Africa, Russia and Asia (see map).2

  • What are the symptoms?

    Fever, general feeling of being unwell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, discomfort in the abdomen, dark-colored urine and – because the virus affects the liver – jaundice (yellow eyes or skin).1,5

  • How serious is the disease?

    In most cases, hepatitis A is not serious and people get better in a couple of months. In rare cases, hepatitis can cause fatal liver failure.1,3

  • Can I reduce the chances of catching Hepatitis A?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit a travel health clinic to assess the risks of the planned trip and get advice about available vaccinations and further precautions. Click here to find your nearest travel health clinic and make an appointment: https://www.reisemedizincheck.at/en/find-a-travel-health-service
    • Wash hands frequently, especially before eating and after using the toilet1,3
    • Avoid food and drink (including ice) which may have been prepared in conditions where standards of hygiene are poor or may have been contaminated with sewage1,3
  1. World Health Organization. Factsheet. Hepatitis A. June 2022. Available online: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-a (last accessed October 2022)
  2. World Health Organization. Hepatitis A, countries or areas at risk. Available online: http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/Files/Maps/Global_HepA_ITHRiskMap.png (last accessed October 2022)
  3. Gesundheit.gv.at. Hepatitis A. Available online: https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/krankheiten/leber/hepatitis-a
    (last accessed October 2022)

20 Feb 2023
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