My son has hepatitis a. What is it, in a nutshell?

A viral disease. Several viruses r known to cause inflammation of the liver (hepatitis). They are named by the sequence in which they were discovered (i.e., a, b, c, etc.). Hepatitis a is usually transmitted from infected stool contaminating what you eat or drink. It is rarely extremely severe, recovery produces lasting immunity. There is a very effective vaccine available when in areas with poor hygiene.
Food borne virus. Hepatitis a is a food borne illness due to fecal contamination of food. It is a viral infection. It usually causes a self-limited inflammation of the liver with fever, and jaundice. Effective vaccine to prevent hepatitis a is available.