Hepatitis A Vaccination
- Low risk
- Moderate risk
- High risk
Hepatitis A is an infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus, which is highly contagious and is transmitted through infected water which has been contaminated by faeces or eating infected foods (especially shellfish).
Where is hepatitis A found?
Hepatitis A is found throughout the world particularly in countries where sanitation is poor. High risk areas include the Indian subcontinent (especially India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal), Africa, parts of the Far East (except Japan), South and Central America and the Middle East.
The infection affects primarily the liver and causes a range of symptoms including abdominal pain, fever, diarrhoea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases jaundice and liver failure occurs which can be fatal if medical attention is not sought immediately. Although the majority of infected people make a full recovery, the illness can last up to 6 months. It can be more serious for older people or people that already have a problem with their liver.
1. You can prevent getting hepatitis A and other water-borne infections by avoiding contaminated water and having good personal and food hygiene. Use only bottled drinking water and avoid unhygienic restaurants and food vendors. You must be particularly careful of shellfish, salads, unwashed fruit and vegetables and raw undercooked meat products.
2. Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis A.
There is no specific treatment or cure for Hepatitis A, so treatment is usually supportive.
The hepatitis A vaccine is given as a course of two injections. Following the first injection, a booster vaccination is given six months later to provide 25 years protection. The first dose will give high levels of protection for the first year and some levels of protection for the next four years.
The hepatitis A vaccine is suitable for all ages above one year.
There are various brands of the vaccine which helps to protect against hepatitis A: Avaxim, Epaxal, Havrix Monodose, Havrix Junior Monodose and Vaqta Paediatric.
The hepatitis A vaccine is also available in a preparation that combines it with hepatitis B vaccine: Ambirix, Twinrix and Twinrix Paediatric and a preparation that combines it with typhoid vaccine: Hepatyrix and ViATIM.
The vaccine is recommended for people travelling to high risk places where hepatitis A may occur. At Cosmopolitan Medical Clinic, our doctor or nurse will advise if you should consider having this vaccine. Women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss their itinerary and risk profile with our travel nurse.