Hepatitis A is a short term liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Worldwide, an estimated 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A occur each year. Hepatitis A infection does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but the symptoms can be debilitating.
The hepatitis A virus is spread when an uninfected (and unvaccinated) person consumes food or water that is contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. Regions with poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water are more likely to experience hepatitis A epidemics.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A but it is useful to rest, maintain nutritional balance and fluid intake to replace what the body loses through vomiting and diarrhoea. Recovery may take several weeks or months.