What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is caused by infection by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) and results in inflammation of the liver. It is highly contagious, affects 1.4 million people worldwide every year, and is the most common vaccine preventable disease in travellers.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms of hepatitis A may range in severity. Babies and young children often experience no obvious signs or symptoms while older children may show symptoms. The disease is more severe in adults with illness lasting several weeks and recovery taking several months. The risk of death from hepatitis A increases with age.
- Fever and chills
- Pain in the abdomen including the liver area
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
- Dark urine
- Pale coloured stools
How Is It Contracted?
Hepatitis A is most commonly transmitted by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by infected sewage or faeces. It may also be spread by close contact with an infected person, for example someone with whom you live, or occasionally through sexual contact.
Important sources of infection are:
- Shellfish from sewage polluted beds
- Contaminated raw fruit and vegetables
- Contaminated milk and milk products
- Pollution of water sources
Who Is At Most Risk?
A number of groups are considered to be at increased risk.
- Overseas travellers visiting the high-risk areas detailed below
- Injecting drug users
- Homosexual men
- People in contact with someone infected with the hepatitis A virus
Where Are You At Risk?
Hepatitis A is found worldwide but it is most prevalent in any area where hygiene conditions are poor and especially in:
- Central America and Caribbean
- Countries of the former Soviet Union
- Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East
- Indian subcontinent
- South America
The hepatitis A vaccine is given by injection and is available for children over one year old and adults.
When Should You Be Vaccinated?
Check with your doctor or practice nurse as soon as you have decided where and when you are travelling, and they will advise you.
Does The Vaccine Have Any Side Effects?
Like most injections, some people may experience tenderness and redness at the site of the injection. Hepatitis A cannot be contracted directly from the vaccine.
Does the hepatitis A vaccine protect against other types of hepatitis?
Other types of hepatitis, e.g. hepatitis B and C are all different diseases caused by different viruses. The hepatitis A vaccine only protects against the hepatitis A virus.
Source Of information
GlaxoSmithKline, Wikipedia, local doctors, local hospitals, newspaper articles, various.
Travel Related Diseases
Thailand is an incredibly photogenic country, both for its landscapes and its people. Regardless of whether you enjoy large Asian cities, beaches and islands, or rice fields and mountains, Thailand has something for you and it is a dream destination for photographers.
One of the great things about visiting Thailand is that hotels are plentiful and a lot cheaper than in most other countries. Each link on the right will take you to the relevant page on the Agoda website where you can see photos, read reviews, and book on-line. I use Agoda to book all of my own hotels in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region. Agoda hotel rates are usually always the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people. Here is some analysis I did regarding booking hotels in Southeast Asia.
Booking.com used to be more expensive than Agoda, but when I have checked hotel prices recently I have found their rates to be quite competitive. Unlike Agoda, you don't need to pay at the time of booking with Booking.com - you can simply pay at the hotel when you check in. Also, Booking.com show you total prices whereas Agoda show you a price and then add on 17% for tax and service charge.
If you wish to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined.
Images of Thailand