Most travellers from developed countries to developing countries are at high risk of Hepatitis A. The risk for Hepatitis A exists even for travelers to urban areas, those who stay in luxury hotels, and those who report that they have good hygiene and that they are careful about what they drink and eat.
It is spread by food and water, and very rarely through sexual contact.
Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Some people have no symptoms, while others have symptoms that last 1-6 months. Most people recover with no lasting liver damage.
There have been some food source contaminations in Australia over the last few years with frozen berries being a common source. Fortunately these were identified early, and recalls made swiftly so the number of people affected were minimal.
Hepatitis A vaccinations can be given on their own, combined with hepatitis B vaccinations or with typhoid vaccinations depending on your requirements.
Once a full course of Hepatitis A vaccine is given, immunity is lifelong. Most people forget their booster shot to complete vaccination, which is done 6-36 months following the first shot depending on which vaccine you’ve received. Any longer than this and you have to start again.
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