NY Travel Clinic

Travel Tips Related to Hepatitis

While the risk of contracting Hepatitis is relatively low in the developed world, travelers planning to visit non-urban locations in developing countries are at a higher risk of being infected. This is especially true for areas where sanitation is poor and where hepatitis is prevalent.

There are three types of hepatitis – Hepatitis A, B and C. Hepatitis A is contracted through fecal-oral contact. In other words, a person can get infected by consuming foods or beverages that are contaminated with virus-laden feces. They can also contract it through close personal contact with someone who is already infected with Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B and C are spread through infected blood and contact. Hepatitis B can also be contracted through body fluids. Thus, a person may become infected with Hepatitis B or C through sexual contact with a person already infected with one or the other. It can also be contracted if personal items of an infected person such as razors, nail trimmers etc. are used. Additionally, people can become infected with Hepatitis B or C during blood transfusion (in case the donor was not screened for hepatitis) or through the use of dirty hypodermic needles.

While a person infected with Hepatitis A can fully recover within a few weeks or months, Hepatitis B and C can lead to further complications including cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and even death. It is thus imperative to minimize the risk of infection when traveling. This can be achieved by taking the following few steps:

North America

Europe

Asia

Africa

Overall, it is always a good idea to consult a travel doctor to ensure you receive all necessary vaccinations and medicines before traveling to a new location.