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. I always use Agoda to book hotels in Thailand. The company was established in Thailand and has great local knowledge, as well as a huge inventory of hotels.
If you click on one of the destinations opposite you will get a list of hotel deals from Agoda. It's generally a good idea to book on-line because you will get a good room rate and you won't suffer the disappointment of arriving at a hotel to find that it is full.
I book hotels regularly in Thailand and I have always found Agoda to be the best on-line travel agent. At times I have spent a lot of time researching hotel prices and although other deals sometimes look better at first I always end up returning to Agoda.
If you don't wish to pay for your hotel at the time of booking, Booking.com normally allows you to pay when you check in at the hotel. Some people prefer this method, but I have always found Booking.com to be more expensive than Agoda.
If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined. However, you will normally find that Agoda is the cheapest and therefore you can save yourself time and money by just booking through Agoda in the first place.
Images of Thailand