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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease spread by contaminated food and water

It is a virus infection of the liver and common in areas where sanitation and water is inadequate. There are steps travellers can take to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A


How is Hepatitis A spread?

Hepatitis A is transmitted through eating and drinking food and water that has been contaminated by human urine and faeces. Contamination is most likely when cooked food is handled or left un-refrigerated. Shellfish are frequently responsible however, milk, cold meats and other food contaminated during preparation are potential sources.


What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

These can be:

• Loss of appetite

• Tiredness and lethargy

• Nausea

• Abdominal discomfort

• Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)

• Orange urine

• Pale bowel motions


Who is at risk?

Travellers (particularly in developing countries where sanitation is poor), who consume unsafe food and water. There are occasional outbreaks of Hepatitis A in developed countries as well, for example, in restaurants where the people preparing the food have been infected.


How to avoid Hepatitis A

Strict personal hygiene by washing hands after going to the toilet is advised. There is a Hepatitis A vaccination available, please contact our Travel Health Specialists for more information on this.

Be sensible with your food and water choices. Drink and brush your teeth with sterilised water, be aware of ice in your drinks… if you don’t know where it has come from, avoid it. Raw foods, reheated or poorly cooked food and ice creams can all be potential spreads. Keep your diet familiar for the first few days then gradually introduce local foods. Go with local dishes that are well prepared and have a high turnover in a restaurant. Take hand sanitiser everywhere with you.

We like to say “Cook it, peel it, boil it or avoid it”.


Further information about Hepatitis A

There are combination vaccines available of both Hepatitis A & B, as well as Hepatitis A & Typhoid. Please consult with your Worldwise travel health specialist to see which one is best for you.

Please note that the recommendations given are general guidelines as to what may be required for a trip to these countries. However, they really do depend on many factors of your travel itinerary and medical history. All travellers are strongly advised to make an appointment to see a WORLDWISE Travel Doctor for up to date advice (including a vaccination plan and anti-malaria recommendations) tailored specifically to your upcoming trip.

Remember, our Travel Health Specialists are travellers too and have probably been to the region that you are going to. They appreciate the importance of enjoying a problem-free trip and of staying healthy abroad.

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Countries at risk of Hepatitis A

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