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.
Hepatitis A can sometimes lead to fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure), which can lead to death.
In Australia, there were 144 diagnosed cases of hepatitis A in 2011.
Hepatitis A symptoms
Hepatitis A symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, aching joints and pains, jaundice and general weakness.
- loss of appetite;
- joint aches and pains;
- vomiting; and
- jaundice (yellowish eyes and skin, dark urine and pale-coloured faeces)
Not everyone will have all the symptoms. Most infected children under six do not have any symptoms.