Information from the Ministry of Health website.
Hepatitis A is rare in New Zealand, but if you’re planning to travel overseas, you may be at risk.
Talk to your doctor if you are planning travel in high or moderate-risk areas, as immunisation is recommended.
- High-risk areas include Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Middle East.
- Moderate-risk areas include the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe (including Russia) and parts of the Pacific.
How is it spread?
The virus is spread by contact with the faeces of an infected person. It can be passed on through:
- poor personal hygiene – such as when people don’t wash their
- contaminated food – such as from an infected food handler, raw shellfish, infected sewage
- outbreaks overseas – some of these have also been associated with contaminated frozen berries
- close personal contact – including sexual contact
- sharing personal things with an infected person – such as toothbrushes, facecloths, towels, etc.
The most infectious period for hepatitis A is usually from 2 weeks before jaundice (skin yellowing) starts until 1 week after. If you have hepatitis A you should stay away from school, early childhood centre and work for 7 days from the onset of jaundice.
If you’ve caught hepatitis A, it will take 15–50 days for the symptoms to develop.
Symptoms can include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low-grade fever
Contact your GP about a vaccine or testing.
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