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Hepatitis is an irritation of the liver that can cause permanent damage. It is most often spread by unclean food and water and is common in developing countries where sanitation is poor.

Travelers can be infected from person-to-person contact or through food and water that has been contaminated with animal or human feces.

In adults, Hepatitis A usually results in liver disease, characterized by jaundice - a yellowing of the skin - that can last a month or more. Other symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, stomach pains and general weakness. Children may show no symptoms at all.

Prevention Tips

  • Follow strict food and water precautions while traveling.
  • Ensure all food is well cooked - especially meat and seafood.
  • Consume only canned or commercially bottled drinks.
  • Ensure ice cubes are made from purified water.
  • Eat only fruits and vegetables that you wash and peel yourself.
  • Avoid cold cuts, salads, watermelon and puddings.
  • If traveling to an area where Hepatitis A is common, your travel health care professional should ensure that you receive a Hepatitis A vaccine.