Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a contagious infection of the liver. It spreads by accidental contact with infected feces. HAV infection can cause sudden fever, loss of appetite, nausea, stomachache, dark urine, jaundice, and a general feeling of being unwell.
These symptoms typically last about 2 months, but HAV infection may last for up to 6 months. It is diagnosed by liver function tests. It can incubate in the body for 15–50 days but usually for about 28 days. HAV infection is most contagious 2 weeks before jaundice appears. One week after jaundice appears the infection is usually no longer contagious. People who get HAV infection once become immune to it for life. Although serious infection is rare, some people die from HAV infection.