The numbers are alarming. In just one week, there have been 73% more new cases of hepatitis A than in an entire non-outbreak year in Louisiana. What is it and how can I avoid it? Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection caused by a virus that mainly affects the liver. Almost everyone who gets it makes a full recovery, but 60% of recent cases statewide have resulted in hospitalization, so you should know the risks. You’re most likely to get Hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected. Certain groups are more at risk, but even if you’re not in the at-risk population, you should still consider getting the vaccine during an outbreak year.