for Veterans and the Public
What is hepatitis A?
The term "hepatitis" means inflammation (or swelling) of the liver. When the liver is inflamed, it can have a harder time doing some of its jobs. (See Understanding the Liver.) A hepatitis virus is one that lives in liver cells and causes inflammation. Different hepatitis viruses have been given different names, such as A, B, and C.
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Most people infected with the virus get well within six months. However, hepatitis A can be serious for older people and people who already have liver disease. Death is possible, although very rare. Learn how to prevent hepatitis A infection, especially if you already have any other type of liver disease.