Hepatitis A | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Parents PACK

Hepatitis A

General information

Please visit the Vaccine Education Center for general information about hepatitis A and the vaccine.

Additional information from past issues of Parents PACK newsletter

Incorrect hepatitis A vaccine dose

Q. My grandson received an adult dose of the hepatitis A vaccine instead of a child’s dose; will he be harmed?

A. While child dosing is meant to provide sufficient immunity with the least amount of vaccine, it is unlikely that receiving the adult dose of the hepatitis A vaccine will harm your grandson. Although he could be more likely to experience side effects caused by the vaccine, such as a sore arm or headache up to four days after the shot, your grandson should be fine.

Hepatitis A outbreaks

Read about the October 2003 hepatitis A outbreak that sickened 660 peopole and killed four.

Hepatitis A exposure at an Indiana restaurant

Recently, diners at a restaurant in Indiana were exposed to hepatitis A virus after their food and drinks were handled by a bartender who was unknowingly infected with the virus. Everyone who ate at the restaurant during a five-day period was urged to get a hepatitis A vaccine. More than 500 people were vaccinated. Luckily, no one developed hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that is spread through contaminated food or water. In countries without clean water systems in place, the virus can easily spread; however, it can also be spread if uncooked food is not properly washed or when someone who has the virus handles food with unclean hands, such as what happened at the Indiana restaurant.

Common symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, pale stool and dark urine. Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, may also occur. Symptoms typically develop about one month after exposure and usually last for about two months. Although children often do not experience symptoms of hepatitis A infection, they can still spread the virus. Hepatitis A, unlike hepatitis B and C, does not typically cause long-term liver disease. Severe complications are very rare.

Updated: January 2013


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Hepatitis A Vaccine Q&A

"Hepatitis A: What you should know" Q&A sheet: