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Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation in the liver. Hepatitis A can cause acute symptoms but rarely results in severe or chronic liver disease. It is the least serious of the hepatitis viruses.
The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is found in the blood and stool of an infected person. It can be passed from person to person, usually through contact with fecal matter or contaminated food or water. Poor hygiene is often the cause of contamination. The virus may also be contracted from eating raw or undercooked shellfish that came from polluted waters.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include:
If your child experiences any of the symptoms of hepatitis A, a pediatric gastroenterologist can perform the following exams and tests to make a diagnosis:
Other tests used to make a hepatitis A diagnosis include:
Most children with hepatitis A will improve naturally without treatment within one to two weeks of initial contact with the virus. Rest is recommended during the acute phase of the virus when symptoms are most severe.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
The Riley at IU Health Liver Support Group meets one or two times a year for a family-oriented education program and socializing. Topics include testing for liver disease, complications of liver disease, impact of chronic disease on the family, liver transplant, nutrition for liver disease and medicine for liver disease. Please call 317.944.3774 for meeting dates and times.
This website includes information and resources for families of children with hepatitis A.
This website from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition provides information for patients and families living with hepatitis A.
This National Institutes of Health website offers information and resources about hepatitis A, including research and clinical trials.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.