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What is hepatitis A?

Harsha Vittal, MD
Gastroenterology
Hepatitis A is a virus transmitted through fecal and oral transmission, generally through food and poor hygiene. In this video, gastroenterologist Harsha Vittal, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital describes the spread and complications of hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A virus infection is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. This condition is transmitted in stool and usually is the result of poor hygiene or contaminated water or food. The disease is much more common in developing countries than the United States. Although these infections usually clear up without treatment, liver failure and even death sometimes can occur.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease. Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is caused by a virus. It is not common in the U.S., although it is in other countries with lower standards of sanitation. Hepatitis A is a short-term infection, meaning that it does not cause chronic liver disease, although in rare cases it can cause liver failure. There is a vaccine to prevent infection.

This information is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.