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A part of the “Big Six” family of foodborne pathogens, the hepatitis A virus is highly infectious. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, and although there are several types of hepatitis, hepatitis A is the type commonly associated with foodborne illness. It is estimated that there are 24,900 new cases of hepatitis A in the U.S. each year.

For more information on this contagious pathogen and what solutions you can use to combat the threat of an outbreak in your business, check out our hepatitis A knowledge sheet.

How is hepatitis A transmitted?

Hepatitis A is frequently acquired by ingesting food or water that was contaminated with the hepatitis A virus. It may also be transmitted through close physical contact with persons infected with the virus. Fruits, vegetables, shellfish, ice, and water are the foods that are most likely to be contaminated by the hepatitis A virus. It is carried in the feces of infected persons and is most commonly spread when an infected person does not properly wash their hands after using the restroom and then touches food, a surface, or a person’s mouth.

The incubation period ranges from 14 to 50 days, with the 14 days before symptoms appear being the most contagious. Once a person becomes infected with hepatitis A, it is not possible for them to become infected again.

Hepatitis A prevention tips

By implementing these procedures, you can greatly reduce the risk of hepatitis A spreading in your business.

  1. Require consistent and proper handwashing for employees especially after using the restroom. This includes scrubbing beneath fingernails, between fingers, and around wrists.
  2. Wash raw vegetables and produce under running water or with a produce wash according to the label directions before preparing or eating.
  3. Wash hands, knives, cutting boards, and other food-contact areas after handling uncooked food, including produce and raw meat, fish and seafood, or poultry.
  4. Thoroughly cook food to safe minimum internal temperatures.
  5. Use only approved food suppliers and distributors that can verify they monitor produce growers for Good Agricultural Practices.

If you are currently experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak at your facility, Steritech offers Crisis Management assistance. We also provide a wide selection of health and safety services that aim to reduce the risk of transmission of foodborne illnesses. Contact us today to learn more.


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