What is it?
Hepatitis B is a viral infection which is spread through infected blood and bodily fluids. It is often contracted through sexual activity or blood contact with an infected individual. Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.
Countries at risk…
Countries at risk Hepatitis B occurs worldwide but higher risk areas include Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, South and Central America.
Our recommended vaccines for the most common travel destinations outside of Europe includes Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) vaccines. For travellers who are visiting the developing world on a regular basis or for prolonged periods of time, we would recommend considering hepatitis B vaccine. Cholera is worth considering for travellers visiting rural areas of developing countries. The vaccine against cholera (Dukoral) also reduces the risk of the most common form of traveller’s diarrhoea caused by E coli. Dukoral is an oral vaccine given in two doses one week apart.
The risk to short term travellers is low however the risk of infection is dependent on activities and behaviour while travelling. Travellers intending on receiving medical or dental treatment, acupuncture, piercings, and tattoos are at risk. Travellers intending on playing contact sports are also at a higher risk.
Signs and symptoms
Individuals who have contracted hepatitis B may get flu like symptoms such as tiredness, general aches and pains, fever and headaches. Hepatitis B can infect the liver which can then cause yellowing of the skin and eyes.
The hepatitis B vaccination is a three-dose course which as a standard is given over 6 months however can be given as an accelerated course over 1 month with a booster after a year.
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