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Hepatitis A (viral hepatitis)

Hepatitis A is a virus that is carried by contaminated food or water. The virus is shed in the stools of an infected person during the incubation period of 15 to 45 days before symptoms occur and during the first week of illness. Blood and secretions may also be infectious. The virus does not remain in the body after the infection has resolved, and there is no carrier state (a person who spreads the disease to others but does not become ill).

How This Hurts the Liver

The liver becomes inflamed. This causes short-term mild to severe symptoms.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Rest is recommended during the acute phase of the disease when the symptoms are most severe. People with conditions acute hepatitis should avoid alcohol and any substances that are toxic to the liver (hepatotoxic) including acetaminophen (Tylenol®).