Hepatitis A

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Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver, which causes jaundice and is highly infectious.

Hepatitis A is commonly caught from:

  • contaminated food or water
  • close contact with another infected person
  • sharing food with an infected person
  • swimming in contaminated water

The illness usually occurs within 15–40 days of infection, and will be most infectious for 2 weeks before the illness beings and for up to 7 days after the jaundice appears.

  • dark urine – often described as ‘tea coloured’
  • fever
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • jaundiced (yellow) skin and eyes
  • itching
  • Wash hands thoroughly after going to the toilet, after changing baby’s nappies and before preparing meals or eating
  • Young children with the infection should have their hands washed for them or be supervised
  • Thoroughly wash all crockery between uses
  • Disinfect all areas in the toilet daily (including door handles)
  • Infected people should stay away from work until they have been free of symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours
  • If the infected person is in a high risk group e.g. is a food handler, nursery worker, nurse or carer for the elderly etc. they cannot return to work until they have been completely recovered for 48 hours. Sometimes clear faecal specimens (negative results) are required. Also, it may be necessary to temporarily exclude infected children from playgroups, nurseries, childminders or schools. An Officer from the department will inform you if exclusion is necessary and when you are able to resume activities
  • Your GP will be able to give you advice on treatment.
  • You should tell your place of work or in the case of children, the head teacher of the school to find out if exclusion is necessary and when you can return.

If you report your infection, the council’s investigating officer will give you a more general leaflet on infection control.

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