What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a viral disease that attacks the liver. If you contract the virus as an adult it will probably disappear on its own if it is acute, but it can lead to chronic Hepatitis B. If this happens it can develop into cirrhosis or liver cancer and be fatal.
What Are The Symptoms?
Some people who contract acute Hepatitis B may not develop any symptoms. Others may notice a yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, extreme tiredness, nausea, sickness and stomach pains.
How Is It Contracted?
The Hepatitis B virus is transmitted via blood and other bodily fluids, including saliva, menstrual, vaginal, and seminal fluids. It can be passed from mother to child at birth, and the risk of an infant developing chronic Hepatitis B is very high. Sexual transmission is also possible and drug users can contract it by sharing infected needles.
I am most familiar with Thailand and visitors should be careful if engaging in sexual activity with commercial sex workers, of which there are many.
Hygiene standards in Thai hospitals and dental surgeries tend to be quite high so I would imagine that the risk of contracting Hepatitis B through surgical instruments is quite low, however, many foreigners visiting Thailand like to have tattoos done and hygiene standards in some of Thailand's tattoo parlours may not be so stringent.
Who Is At Most Risk?
Hepatitis B is only dangerous if the acute version develops into a chronic version. This is fairly rare among adults (about 5%), but high with infants (80% to 90%) and young children (30% to 50%).
Where Are You At Risk?
Hepatitis B occurs worldwide, but with a higher risk in certain parts of Asia, Africa and South America. Vaccination programmes seem to have been very effective in lowering the risk of contractions.
In Western countries vaccination is normally carried out at birth. The vaccine will last for at least 20 years and probably for your lifetime. The Orld Health Organisation does not recommend booster jabs.
If you were vaccinated at birth, don't worry. If you weren't and you are considering visiting a country where there is a risk of contracting Hepatitis B you should consult your physician.
When Should You Be Vaccinated?
This is normally done shortly after birth.
Does The Vaccine Have Any Side Effects?
Like most injections, some people may experience tenderness and redness at the site of the injection. Children may become irritable and develop cold-like symptoms.
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