The hepatitis A virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route by consumption of contaminated food such as raw shellfish, water or milk or close contact with an infected person/persons.
Some groups of people who are at a higher risk from this infection. These groups include:
Symptoms are usually seen in older children and adults from 15-50 days after infection. Young children may not have any symptoms. Symptoms can last up to two months.
Information received from the Immunisation Advisory Centre.
There is no specific treatment for the Hepatitis A infection. Please see your GP for advice regarding what and when to take medication to relieve pain and fever.
It is very rare to develop severe liver problems following being infected with hepatitis A, but the risk of complications does increase the older person is and also higher in those with any pre-existing liver disease.
Hand hygiene is the gold standard for preventing the spread of hepatitis A. Use soap and water to wash your hands after using the toilet or changing nappies, before and after preparing food and before eating.
A vaccine is available for people at risk of infection. It is not funded. To get the full benefit of this vaccine, it is recommended more than one vaccination is needed. For more information please see your family doctor.
The NZ Immunisation Advisory Centre 2018 recommends the following people get a vaccine:
More information is available on the World Health Organisation website.