Travellers put themselves at risk of hepatitis A
- By: Helen Barratt
Many people travelling to developing countries this summer could unwittingly put themselves in danger of infection with the hepatitis A virus, the European Travel Health Advisory Board has warned. Researchers interviewed 600 travellers at major European airports, and their findings, presented to the third European Conference on Travel Medicine, suggest that most people do not consider themselves at risk of contracting the virus. Also, 40% of travellers do not seek any medical advice before making a trip abroad.
The World Health Organization recommends that travellers from developed countries should receive the hepatitis A vaccine before travelling to the developing world. The uptake of the vaccine is poor, however, and experts at the conference estimated that, in Germany alone, more than 8000 cases and 51 deaths from hepatitis A could be prevented if guidelines were followed.
Hepatitis A is the most common travellers' infection that is preventable by vaccine, and, although