Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Mild cases can last a few weeks while severe cases can last several months.
Los Angeles County is experiencing an outbreak of hepatitis A. The majority of cases are occurring in individuals who are homeless and/or use illicit drugs. Outbreaks of hepatitis A in persons who are homeless and/or use illicit drugs are also occurring in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties.
Anyone can get hepatitis A, but you are at-risk if you:
Hepatitis A can be spread by:
- Are homeless and/or use illicit drugs
- Live with someone who has hepatitis A
- Use recreational drugs
- Are a man who has sex with men
- Have sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis
- Travel or live in countries where hepatitis A is common
How to Prevent Hepatitis A Infection
- Touching objects or eating food that someone with hepatitis A infection has handled
- Having sex with someone who has a hepatitis A infection
- Consuming food or drinks that are contaminated by the virus
- Sharing needles, pipes or other items when using drugs
- Forgetting to wash your hands after cleaning up the stool or changing the diaper of an infected person
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated
- The hepatitis A vaccine is
given as 2 shots, 6 months apart
- The vaccine is safe and effective
- Even a single dose is highly effective in adults
- If you cannot remember if you got the hepatitis A vaccine, there is no harm in getting it again
- Visit your doctor’s office,
a pharmacy, or call 2-1-1 to
find a local clinic or doctor
pharmacy in your area that may offer hepatitis A and other vaccinations. Call ahead to confirm that the pharmacy offers hepatitis A vaccinations and ask about hours, insurance coverage, and any charges.
You can also prevent the spread of hepatitis A by washing hands with soap and water scrubbing vigorously for 20 seconds:
How can I clean areas that may be contaminated with Hepatitis A
- Before eating or preparing food
- After using the bathroom or changing diapers
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Public Health is Working for You
- Use 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water)
Due to the rising concern about hepatitis A, Public Health has been quick to respond by:
- Investigating possible cases of hepatitis A infection in our communities.
- Notifying medical providers to increase awareness and detection of hepatitis A infection.
- Reaching out to homeless service providers to increase awareness and encourage hepatitis A vaccination.
- Updating our website and sharing information and education on hepatitis A with residents.