Hepatitis A and You

October 19, 2017



Santa Cruz is one of several counties in California where there is an outbreak of Hepatitis A. In Santa
Cruz County the cases of Hepatitis A have been among people who are homeless and may not have
access to good bathrooms. In Boulder Creek Hepatitis A was spread when a person with the disease
worked as a food handler. Hepatitis A can also be more common in men who have sex with men.
There have been no cases of Hepatitis A in the campus community. At UCSC we work closely with our
county and state health department to respond to disease outbreaks. At this time we are not instructed
to try and give the entire community Hepatitis A vaccination. However, some students may wish to
consider vaccination.


The Disease
Hepatitis A is an acute, self-limiting viral illness. It causes the sudden onset of fever, malaise, yellow
skin, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort and dark urine. The time between when a person is
exposed to Hepatitis A and when they get sick is 15 to 50 days, with an average time of about 28 days.
Most people will experience symptoms about 4 weeks after the exposure.


Handwashing
Hepatitis A is spread when people who have the disease do not wash their hands after using the bathroom
and then touch other people, common surfaces, or handle food. You can prevent the spread and protect
yourself from Hepatitis A by washing your hands thoroughly after you use the bathroom and before you
handle food.


Vaccination
Hepatitis A can be prevented by a vaccination. In some countries and in some parts of the United States
the Hepatitis A vaccination was given with other childhood vaccinations. You can check your
vaccination records to see if you have had the vaccination. If you decide you want the vaccination you can call 831-459- 2500 to make an appointment.


Sick?
If you think you have symptoms of Hepatitis A, please seek medical attention.
If you work in food service, healthcare, or childcare and you have symptoms suggestive of Hepatitis A,
you must stay home from work until you are fully recovered. You should seek medical care.
Hepatitis A is diagnosed by symptom review and a blood test. If you have more questions or concerns
about Hepatitis A you can call the Nurse Advice Line: 831-459- 2591.