Hepatitis A – Travel Vaccines and Travel Advice

The viral infection Hepatitis A is caught by eating and drinking contaminated foods and water. Although rare here in the UK, it does occur from time to time. It is however, quite prevalent in specific areas around the world. If you are due to travel abroad, you live and/or work here in London, and you are in need of travel advice, or you need certain travel vaccines, pop in to Broadgate Walkin Clinic London Wall. No prior appointment is necessary.

Regions most at risk

According to statistical information issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) there are approximately 1.5 million cases of Hepatitis A around the world per annum. The areas most at risk are:

  • Africa
  • Asia (Central, East and South-East)
  • South America

The countries most associated with high risk levels of Hepatitis A are those with poor hygiene and poor sanitation standards.

For anyone travelling abroad to risk areas, the danger comes from eating and drinking contaminated food and water. It is also possible to transfer the disease from person to person though poor personal hygiene.

The Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis A

If you have been exposed to Hepatitis A it may take up to two weeks before any symptoms present. The severity of an infection can vary from individual to individual. In younger people, whose immune systems are at the peak, an infection may display mild symptoms, or no symptoms whatsoever. However, in the more elderly, infections can be quite severe.

The most common symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes

Precautions to take when travelling

When travelling in a Hepatitis A high risk area, you should only ever drink clean water from a sealed bottle, or water that has come from a trusted source whereby it has been pre-filtered, has had anti-hepatitis tablets dissolved in it, or that has been boiled. Never, ever drink water, or ice, from a dubious source.

Do not eat any food that has not been thoroughly cooked, and only eat fruit if it is fruit where you can remove the peel yourself. If you are offered hot food, try to ascertain that it has been freshly and hygienically prepared, and that it is served piping hot.

Personal hygiene is important. Ensure you and (and if possible others) wash their hands regularly.

Hepatitis A prevention

Hepatitis A is one of the many travel vaccines that we administer here at Broadgate Walkin Clinic London Wall. Depending on the clinic you attend, you may be offered one of 3 different combinations of Hepatitis A vaccination:

  • Havrix Monodose – against Hepatitis A alone
  • Twinrix – a course of 3 travel vaccines that protects against both Hepatitis A & B
  • Hepatryx – a single combined vaccination that protects against Hepatitis A and Typhoid Fever

All 3 types of travel vaccines are available from Broadgate Travel Clinic London Wall. The most appropriate one for you will be administered subject to your personal medical history; the region you are travelling to, and the length of time you will be staying in that region.

Getting prepared in time

It is normal to have a single injection followed up by a booster for prolonged protection. To have these successfully administered, and to offer you full protection, we recommend attending Broadgate Walkin Clinic London Wall a minimum of 2 weeks prior to your departure date. In a perfect world we recommend you come and see us 6 weeks before you are due to travel.