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Facts About Hepatitis A for Adults

Hepatitis A vaccine vileHepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The infection is spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.  It can also be spread through close person-to-person contact such as household contact with an infected person.  There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A infection, but hepatitis A vaccine can prevent HAV infection.

Vaccine Safety

Hepatitis A vaccine is very safe and effective. You cannot get hepatitis A from the vaccine. Side effects, when they occur, are minimal and may include soreness at the injection site or a headache. As with any medicine, there are very small risks that serious problems could occur after getting the vaccine. However, the potential risks associated with hepatitis A disease are much greater than the potential risks associated with the hepatitis A vaccine. People who have had a severe allergic reaction to hepatitis A vaccine or to any of its components should not receive hepatitis A vaccine.

Disease and Vaccine Facts

  • FACT: Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.
  • FACT: Hepatitis A is one of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases Americans get during travel.
  • FACT:  You can get hepatitis A by consuming sewage-contaminated water or ice; raw shellfish from sewage-contaminated water; and fruits, vegetables, or other foods eaten uncooked.
  • FACT: You can get hepatitis A through close personal contact, such as household or sexual contact with an infected person.
  • FACT: Before hepatitis A vaccine became available in the US, about 270,000 Americans were infected with hepatitis A
    virus each year.
  • FACT: Adults who get hepatitis A lose an average of one month of work.
  • FACT: About 100 people die from hepatitis A in the US each year.
  • FACT: Hepatitis A infection is found throughout the world, but is especially common in developing countries.
  • FACT: Hepatitis A is more common than cholera and typhoid among international travelersFACT:
  • Mumps can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.


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