Hepatitis A - How is it spread?

A person who doesn’t have protection against the disease can become infected with hepatitis A by eating or drinking food or water infected with the virus. 1,2  The hepatitis A virus can survive for up to 7 days in the environment and can survive in water for as long as 10 months.3  Hepatitis A can be contracted directly from infected individuals or through contact with food, drinks or other items that have been contaminated with human waste (faeces) of an infected person, such as shellfish caught from sewage-polluted water, fruits and uncooked vegetables or even ice.  A person infected with hepatitis A is contagious 2 weeks before and at least 1 week after symptoms develop; however, a few individuals may be contagious for considerably longer periods.6 

The risk of infection is greater in developing countries where there are poor hygiene practices, poor sanitation conditions, and low-quality drinking water.3

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