Symptoms of hepatitis A appear two to seven weeks after exposure and commonly include fever, a feeling of being unwell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal discomfort.
Urine may become darker in color and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) may appear.
Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice, and may have an illness so mild that it can go unnoticed.
However, even mildly ill persons can still be highly infectious. Most people recover without complications after several weeks. People who have pre-existing liver problems can become extremely ill if they contract hepatitis A.
Anyone who experiences these symptoms should see their doctor.
Careful hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A and should include vigorous washing of hands with soap and running water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
All surfaces should be washed, including the back of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails. This is especially important after using the bathroom and before handling food or beverages.
Anyone who may have been exposed is strongly encouraged to follow this practice to reduce the risk of spreading illness to others.