A Guide to Childhood Vaccines

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Infections can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Although each can cause similar symptoms, hepatitis A, B and C are caused by three different viruses and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A doesn’t always cause symptoms, but symptoms can include fever, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice. Hepatitis A is commonly spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with contaminated objects, food or drinks, or the stool of an infected person. The CDC reports that there were an estimated 3,473 hepatitis A infections in the US in 2013. The hepatitis A vaccine is a shot that contains an inactive form of the virus. The CDC recommends the vaccine for all children age 1 or above and for those traveling to certain countries.

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Review Date: 
July 23, 2015

Last Updated:
July 23, 2015