Hepatitis B – Travel vaccines

The viral infection Hepatitis B is highly infectious and can be caught by coming into contact with infected blood and/or contaminated body fluids. It can cause chronic liver disease and has a high mortality rate. It is in fact 100 times more infectious than HIV. However, having said that, many people are infected and cured without ever showing symptoms or knowing of the infection.

Although Hepatitis B is rare here in the UK, it does occur from time to time. It is however, quite prevalent in certain areas around the world. If you are due to be travelling abroad in the near future, you live and/or work here in London, and you are in need of travel advice, or certain travel vaccines, you can pop in to Broadgate Walkin Clinic London Wall. No prior appointment is necessary.

Regions most at risk

The risk of contracting Hepatitis B is global. The countries where risk is highest are:

  • Africa
  • Central and South America
  • China
  • Eastern Europe
  • Russia
  • South east Asia

Click on this link to see a copy of the WHO world Hepatitis B map.

The Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis B

The majority of people who contract a Hepatitis B infection stay healthy and do not present any symptoms while their immune systems are fighting the infection. Many people are infected and cured without ever knowing. But during the time that the virus is still active, it can be transferred to others. When symptoms do develop, they manifest themselves somewhere between 40 and 160 days after the initial infection.

The most common symptoms of Hepatitis B include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Running a high temperature
  • Mild fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes

Precautions to take when travelling

If you are travelling as a tourist, or you are only visiting your destination country for a short while, the risk of becoming infected with Hepatitis B is low. Risk tends to be associated with the activities you will be involved in. Generally speaking, any activities whereby you run the risk of coming into direct contact with other people’s blood or body fluids, increases the risk factor.

You should also be aware that any medical or dental treatment you may receive while you are abroad, also potentially puts you at risk. Sexual intercourse with an infected person carries a high risk factor, as does the sharing of needles, and any form of activity that involves breaking your skin; these include things like: body piercing, tattoos and blood transfusions

Hepatitis B prevention

Hepatitis B 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 2 different combinations of Hepatitis B vaccination:

  • Energix B – a course of 3 vaccinations that protects against Hepatitis B only
  • Twinrix – a course of 3 travel vaccines that protects against both Hepatitis A & B

Both of the types of travel vaccines shown above are administered in 3 injections, and are available from Broadgate Clinic London Wall. Depending on when you come and see us, either of the courses of vaccines can be administered over a 1-month or 6-month period.

Broadgate Clinic London Wall offer a comprehensive range of travel vaccines

Depending on your medical history, (including any travel vaccines you may have had in the past and when they were administered), and exactly where it is you are travelling to, you may need other travel vaccines apart from Hepatitis B. If you visit our travel clinic here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall for one of our private GP consultations, we can ascertain and administer any travel vaccines you require. We also provide a certification service if needed.

Getting prepared in time

Although you can have a course Hepatitis travel vaccines administered within 1 month, Broadgate Walkin Clinic London Wall recommends that if possible you should pay your first visit to us 6 weeks before your due travel date, if time permits. This allows plenty of time to have an initial evaluation to decide what travel vaccines you need, plus sufficient time to administer them, and allow them time to offer you full protection