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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Hepatitis A

Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County

To learn more about hepatitis A
and preventive vaccines, visit Home | The Power to Protect.

What is Hepatitis A? How Does it Spread?  

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, short-term liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.

The virus spreads through the feces (poop) of people who have the virus. If a person with the virus doesn’t wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom, feces can transfer to objects, food, drinks or drugs. When these things are shared, other people can unknowingly swallow the virus. If a person who has the virus comes in close contact with others—like during sex—the virus can also spread. 

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against hepatitis A. Anyone desiring immunity can receive the vaccine.

Who is at Risk? 

People at risk are: 

  • International travelers.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • People who use or inject drugs.
  • People with occupational risk for exposure.
  • People who anticipate close personal contact with an international traveler.
  • People experiencing homelessness.
  • People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
  • People living with HIV.


A person can have hepatitis A for up two weeks without feeling sick but during that time can spread the virus to others. Symptoms usually start 2 to 7 weeks after infection and last less than two months. Some people can be ill for up to 6 months.

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)


A health care provider can diagnosis hepatitis A by discussing your symptoms and ordering bloodwork. Bed rest and adequate nutrition is recommended along with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Some people with severe symptoms may need medical care in a hospital.


WASH YOUR HANDS: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not kill hepatitis A germs. Use soap and warm, running water and wash for at least 20 seconds.

WASH BEFORE YOU: prepare food or work with food that isn’t already packaged.

WASH AFTER YOU: use the bathroom; touch people or public surfaces; change a diaper; cough, sneeze or use a tissue; use tobacco; and eat or drink.

DOH-Santa Rosa offers hepatitis A vaccines. For more information call 850-983-5200, option 2.


Hepatitis A Information Sheet (PDF-438KB)