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      Hepatitis A

human eye showing signs of jaundice. 

Contact Us 

Enteric, Zoonotic and Vector-Borne Diseases
ezvbd@oahpp.ca

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See the Canadian Immunization Guide for additional groups recommended to receive the hepatitis A vaccine.

Hepatitis A is an acute infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is easily transmitted fr​om person-to-person, with most infections usually occurring as a result of ingestion of food or w​ater contaminated by the feces of infected persons. Fecal-oral spread ca​n also happen through direct person-to-person contact, including oral-anal sexual contact, or from contact with a contaminated environment.

Symptoms of hepatitis A usually develop 28 to 30 days after exposure to the virus, although this period can range from 15 to 50 days. Initial symptoms of hepatitis A may include fever, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, followed by signs of jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eye). Hepatitis A can be asymptomatic, especially among children younger than six years of age.

Prevention of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A vaccine is publicly-funded in Ontario for:

  • men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • people who use intravenous drugs
  • people with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and C

The hepatitis A vaccine should be considered for other high risk groups including those who use non-injectable illicit drugs, individuals living in communities at high risk for hepatitis A outbreaks or travellers to endemic countries. 

Good hygiene practices like washing hands after using the bathroom, after changing diapers and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.​

Reported Hepatitis A cases in Ontario from June 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 and 5-year monthly averages for 2012-2016

The graph shows the recent increase in the number of Hepatitis A cases in the months of May, June and July 2018 compared to the monthly average from 2012 to 2016
     
  • Public Health Ontario (PHO) is monitoring an outbreak of hepatitis A in Ontario which is mainly due to person-to-person spread.

  • The increase in cases associated with this outbreak was first detected in 2017.

  • Cases in this outbreak have been genetically linked to hepatitis A outbreaks in Europe and the United Kingdom. Some early cases reported travel to these areas, but most cases did not travel outside of Ontario

  • Reported risk factors include drug use, sex with same sex among males, homelessness/under-housed, and incarceration.

  • PHO will continue to monitor this outbreak together with local and provincial public health partners.

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Page last reviewed:
Page last updated: 2018-10-24 8:50 AM
Uncontrolled print copy. Valid only on day of Print: [date]
Page updated on [date/time] 2018-10-24 8:50 AM
© , Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion