War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
Service members who are deployed to areas with crowded living conditions and poor sanitary facilities may be at risk for Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A (HAV) is one type of hepatitis - a liver disease - which is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The disease is spread primarily through food or water contaminated by stool from an infected person.
Risk factors for Hepatitis A include the following:
- Eating food prepared by someone with Hepatitis A who did not wash their hands after using the bathroom
- Having anal/oral sex with someone with Hepatitis A
- Not washing your hands after changing a diaper
- Drinking contaminated water
Hepatitis A can cause swelling of the liver, but rarely causes lasting damage. You may feel as if you have the flu, or you may have no symptoms at all. It usually gets better on its own after several weeks.
You can help protect yourself from Hepatitis A by:
- Getting the hepatitis A vaccine which all service members should receive.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food, after using the toilet, or after changing a diaper.
- Avoid drinking tap water in developing countries.