Hepatitis Home > Hepatitis A Incubation Period

The hepatitis A incubation period can range from 15 to 45 days, and is dependent on the number of virus particles consumed. Fewer particles typically lead to a longer incubation time. During the hepatitis A incubation period, an infected person is contagious and remains so for about a week after jaundice appears (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

An Introduction to the Hepatitis A Incubation Period

When a person becomes infected with the hepatitis A virus, the virus begins to multiply within the liver cells The virus can also spread to the:
  • Bile
  • Intestines
  • Blood
  • Stool.
After four weeks (on average), symptoms of hepatitis A can appear. This period between transmission of the virus and the start of symptoms is called the "hepatitis A incubation period." This can be as short as 15 days or as long as 45 days. The incubation period is dependent on the number of virus particles consumed. Typically, infection with very few particles results in a longer incubation period.

Is a Person Contagious During the Hepatitis A Incubation Period?

Yes, a person is contagious during this time. In fact, a person starts to become contagious early in the hepatitis A incubation period. He or she remains contagious for about a week after developing jaundice (which is yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes). A person appears to be most contagious during the middle of the hepatitis A incubation period, well before symptoms of infection appear.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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