Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A

If you`ve had hepatitis A in the past, can you get it again?

No. Once you recover from hepatitis A you develop antibodies that provide life-long protection from future infections. After recovering from hepatitis A, you will never get it again and you cannot transmit the virus to others.

How do you know if you have hepatitis A?

A blood test (IgM anti-HAV) is needed to diagnose hepatitis A. Talk to your doctor or someone from your local health department if you suspect that you have been exposed to hepatitis A or any type of viral hepatitis.

How can you prevent hepatitis A?

Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing or eating food.

Two products are used to prevent hepatitis A virus infection: immune globulin and hepatitis A vaccine.

1. Immune globulin is a preparation of antibodies that can be given before exposure for short-term protection against hepatitis A and for persons who have already been exposed to hepatitis A virus. Immune globulin must be given within 2 weeks after exposure to hepatitis A virus for maximum protection.

2. . Hepatitis A vaccine has been licensed in the United States for use in persons 12 months of age and older. The vaccine is recommended (before exposure to hepatitis A virus) for persons who are more likely to get hepatitis A virus infection or are more likely to get seriously ill if they do get hepatitis A. The vaccines currently licensed in the United States are HAVRIX® (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline) and VAQTA® (manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc). Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Hepatitis A?

How do you kill hepatitis A virus (HAV)?

HAV can live outside the body for months, depending on the environmental conditions. HAV is killed by heating to 185 degrees F. (85 degrees C.) for one minute. However, HAV can still be spread from cooked food if it gets contaminated after cooking. Adequate chlorination of water, as recommended in the US, kills HAV that may get into the water supply.

Can I donate blood if I have had any type of viral hepatitis?

If you had any type of viral hepatitis since aged 11 years, you are not eligible to donate blood. In addition, if you ever tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C, at any age, you are not eligible to donate, even if you were never sick or jaundiced from the infection.