Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool (poop) of persons with hepatitis A. It is usually spread by close personal contact (e.g. anal-oral sex) and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing HAV.

Hepatitis A can cause:

  • Mild “flu-like” illness
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
  • Severe stomach pains and diarrhea

People with hepatitis A often have to be hospitalized (up to about 1 person in 5).

Sometimes, people die as a result of hepatitis A (about 3-5 deaths per 1,000 cases)/

A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.

Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent hepatitis A.

Who should get hepatitis A vaccine?

  • Men who have sex with men
  • Persons who use street drugs
  • Persons with chronic liver disease
  • Persons who are treated with clotting factor concentrates
  • All children 1 year of age
  • Children and adolescents through 18 years of age who live in states or communities where routine vaccination has been implemented because of high disease rates

How can I learn more?

  • Ask your doctor or nurse. They can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
  • Contact the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency Immunization Branch
    • Call 1-866-358-2966
  • Contact the California Department of Public Health
    • Call 1-916-558-1784
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Call 1-800-232-4636
  •  Visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis or www.cdc.gov/vaccines


Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Hepatitis A Vaccine Information Statement: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hep-a.pdf