Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is not common in Ireland.  It is usually found in developing countries with poor sanitation.  But with more Irish people travelling abroad, Hepatitis A has also increased in Ireland.


  • The faecal-oral route.  This occurs when the faeces (poo) of someone infected with Hepatitis A gets into the mouth of an uninfected person. This can happen because of poor hygiene or poor sanitation.  Hepatitis A is often associated with contaminated food (often shellfish) or water.  Infected food handlers can transmit the virus by not washing their hands after going to the toilet.
  • Sexually: Hepatitis A can also be transmitted sexually (usually sex that involves mouth to anus contact – rimming).

People are usually most infectious a week or two before they have any symptoms and maybe infectious up to a week after they develop symptoms.

After a hepatitis A infection, people develop a natural immunity to the virus and cannot become infected again.

What happens if you contract Hepatitis A?

Usually Hepatitis A is a relatively mild illness that lasts 1-2 weeks but it can be more severe and last longer depending on the person.


There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A.  Nutrition and hydration are important.


  • Vaccine – there is a safe and effective vaccine available for Hepatitis A.  It is available either on its own or in conjunction with Hepatitis B.
  • Good hygiene.
  • Good sanitation.
  • Education.