Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. The three main types of Hepatitis are A, B, and C. Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. The disease is generally mild, but severity tends to increase with age. It spreads through contaminated water and food.
Hepatitis A occurs worldwide, mostly in countries where sanitation is poor. It is now rare in Western Europe, Scandinavia, North America, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. In the UK, most cases are imported from Indian and the far east.
A key part of prevention is based on food and water precautions and keeping high standards of hands and personal hygiene to reduce the risk of Hepatitis infection. If you are traveling to an area where hygiene and sanitation are poor then vaccination is recommended.
The signs and symptoms of all forms of hepatitis are similar. Symptoms include mild fever, gastrointestinal upset, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Jaundice may also occur. Infection with hepatitis A results in lifelong immunity.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. The vaccination is available as a single dose or as a combination with Hep B or Typhoid. Pediatric doses are also available. Travelers to risk areas are recommended to book a consultation to establish risk and immunisation requirements before traveling.