Hepatitis A


Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. The disease is generally mild, but severity tends to increase with age. In developed countries person to person is the most common method of transmission, while in countries with poor sanitation, food contaminated with faeces and similarly contaminated water are the common causes of infection.

Foodborne outbreaks are known to occur and have been associated with contamination of ready to eat foods by infected food handlers. Outbreaks have also been linked to food contaminated further upstream in the food production process including:

  • shellfish
  • fresh and frozen berries

Hepatitis A can also be spread during sexual intercourse and there have been a number of recent outbreaks among men who have sex with men. The infection can also be transmitted through injecting drugs.

Information about the symptoms and managing Hepatitis A infection is available on the NHS inform website.


For all infection prevention and control guidance visit the A-Z ​pathogens section of the National Infection and Prevention Control Manual.

Data and surveillance

Surveillance report

Data tables

Hepatitis A, Scotland: annual totals as at 21 January 2022
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020*
Hepatitis A 20 18 22 31 18 22 154 43 50 11


* 2020 data remains provisional

Data source: Public Health Scotland