Acute Communicable
Disease Control

Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856

Call 211 For Information 24/7

Have questions about things like where to go for vaccinations or other health care services?

Call 2-1-1.

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Acute Communicable Disease Control
(Back to Hepatitis A Main Page)
About Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A virus (HAV), is a highly contagious virus of the liver. Hepatitis A is vaccine-preventable; two doses of vaccine administered six months apart is the best protection against this disease. 

How does hepatitis A spread?
Hepatitis A spreads easily from person-to-person fecal-orally, which means that small amounts of feces (poop) contaminate things that can then get into another person's mouth. This can happen when:
  • Touching objects or eating food that someone with a hepatitis A infection handled
  • Having sex with someone who has a hepatitis A infection
  • Sharing needles, pipes, or other items to take drugs.
People who are infected with hepatitis A can spread infection for two weeks before they have symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms of infection. After they get sick, patients can generally spread the virus for about a week. In rare cases, especially among people with weak immune systems, infections can last longer. After patients fully recover, they can never get the infection again.

How is hepatitis A treated?
There is no treatment for hepatitis A other than rest, good nutrition, and fluids. Patients who are severely ill will need hospitalization and medical monitoring and, in very rare cases, a liver transplant. Patients who are over 50 years of age and those with other medical conditions or weak immune systems are at greatest risk for severe illness.

How can you prevent hepatitis A?
The best prevention for hepatitis A is vaccination. Two doses of the vaccine are needed, given six months apart. Other ways to prevent spread include:
  • Not having sex with someone who has a hepatitis A infection
  • Using your own towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils
  • Not sharing food, drinks, or smokes with other people
  • Washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and before preparing, serving, or eating food
Button for vaccination clinics
What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?
While not everyone infected with hepatitis A will develop symptoms, some common indicators of infection include:
  • Fever
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea

NOTE: An ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A is currently occurring in homeless and/or those that use illicit drugs in Los Angeles County as well as in San Diego and Santa Cruz Counties.

More information about these outbreaks is available here.

In addition, there are an increased number of cases of HAV occurring among men who have sex with men in Los Angeles County and elsewhere. HEALTH ALERT


Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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