Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that results in liver cell damage and destruction.
Hepatitis A is a type of hepatitis that is usually spread by fecal-oral contact, or fecal-infected food and water. It may also be spread by blood-borne infection (which is rare).
Modes of transmission for hepatitis A are:
- Consuming food made by someone who touched infected feces
- Drinking water that is contaminated by infected feces (a problem in developing countries with poor sewage removal)
- Touching an infected person's feces, which may occur with poor hand washing
- Outbreaks may occur in large childcare centers, especially when there are children in diapers
- Residents of American Indian reservations or Native Alaskan villages where hepatitis A may be more common
- Sexual contact with an infected person
A highly protective vaccine for hepatitis A has been developed and is now available.