Hepatitis A

Clinical picture

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.

The symptoms of the disease are fatigue, lack of appetite, muscle and joint pain, fever, jaundice and itching. Adults in particular sometimes take months to recover, a period characterised by fatigue and listlessness. During this period there is often intolerance to fat, alcohol and tobacco. The disease is not chronic in nature.

Additional information from the RIVM.

Infection route

Transmission takes place mainly by the faeco-oral route or by eating contaminated food.


Contagious period

From 3 to 10 days before to 8 days after the onset of symptoms.


Incubation time

2 to 7 weeks (average 28 days).


Potential infectees

All staff who may be occupationally infected by material that may be contaminated with faeces. The risk is predominantly present in paediatric units, gastroenterology and hepatology units, laboratory work and sewer work.

More specific information on vulnerable groups can be found at www.kiza.nl.


Training: hand and food hygiene.

General measures: Follow the internal hygiene instructions.

Vaccination: it is worth considering offering vaccination to potential infectees and potential infectors.

Post-exposure policy

Active immunisation (vaccination) after exposure is effective if given within 8 days of the first day of illness. Passive vaccination with antibodies may be considered for people over 50 years of age or belonging to the medical high-risk groups, where there is a high risk of exposure incidents.

Contact examination: in consultation with the infection prevention advisor (hospital hygienist).

Potential infectors

Staff and patients can infect materials and food during the initial phase of the infection.

Vaccination: there is no national position yet on vaccinating health care workers against hepatitis A. It is worth considering offering vaccination potential infectors.