Hepatitis A, What You Should Know

hepatitisaAs the month of September comes to its close, in today’s blog post, Hepatitis A is discussed. According to WHO, Hepatitis A is disease “caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is primarily spread when an uninfected (and unvaccinated) person ingests food or water that is contaminated with the feces of an infected person. This disease is closely associated with unsafe water or food, inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene.”

One of the most frequent causes of food-borne infections, Hepatitis A is rarely fatal  although it can cause debilitating symptoms and fulminate hepatitis (acute liver failure), which is often fatal. The CDC says “Hepatitis A a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. It is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.”

An extremely hardy virus, Hepatitis A can survive the body’s highly acidic digestive tract and can live outside the body for months. High temperatures, such as boiling or cooking food or liquids for at least 1 minute at 185°F (85°C), kill the virus, although freezing temperatures do not.

What you should know…

Hepatitis A is totally and completely preventable.

Food handlers must always wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and certainly before preparing food.

Food handlers should always wear gloves when handling or preparing ready-to-eat foods, although gloves are not a substitute for good hand washing. Food-handlers should be excluded from work.

For more detailed information on Hepatitis A visit:

Center for Disease and Control (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

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