Hepatitis A

What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis but a virus often causes hepatitis.

What is hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people.

How is hepatitis A spread?
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can spread from close personal contact with an infected person through sex or caring for someone who is ill.
  •  Not washing hands
  •  Sex with infected partners
  •  Recreational drug use
  •  Eating/drinking contaminated food

Who is at risk for hepatitis A?

Anyone can get hepatitis A, however, certain groups of people are at higher risk, such as:
  •  Recreational drug users
  •  Men who have sexual contact with men
  •  People experiencing homelessness
  •  Recently incarcerated

What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?
Symptoms can appear abruptly: Fever, fatigue, Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stools, joint pain, Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

If I think I have been exposed to hepatitis A what should I do?
If you have any questions about potential exposure to hepatitis A, call your health professional or the Shelby County Health Department at 1-901-355-1836. Anyone who believes they may be at risk may receive a free hepatitis A vaccination at any of the following public health clinics, without an appointment, Monday-Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Collierville Public Health Clinic
Only Tuesdays and Thursdays

167 Washington St., 38017
 Immunization Clinic
814 Jefferson, Rm. 216, 38105
Hickory Hill Public Health Clinic
6590 Kirby Center Cove, 38118
 Millington Public Health Clinic
8225 Highway 51 North, 38053
Cawthon Public Health Clinic
1000 Haynes, 38114
 Packer Clinic
814 Jefferson, Room 221, 38105
Southland Mall Public Health Clinic
1287 Southland Mall, 38116
 Shelby Crossing Public Health Clinic
6170 Macon Road, 38133

How will I know if I have hepatitis A? How is hepatitis A diagnosed?
A healthcare professional can determine if you have hepatitis A by discussing your symptoms, taking a blood sample and having it tested.

Can hepatitis A be prevented?

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through 1.) Practicing good hand hygiene – including thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. 2.) Receiving a hepatitis A vaccine also plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.

Will the hepatitis A vaccine protect me from other forms of hepatitis?

No, the hepatitis A vaccine will only protect you against hepatitis A. There is a separate vaccine available for hepatitis B. There is also a combination hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine that offers protection for both viruses. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C at this time.