What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver infection spread by contact with blood, usually through contaminated needles, razors, or medical and dental instruments. It can also be contracted via tattooing, sexual contact, blood transfusion or wound contamination. Some cases have even been attributed to “everyday” accidents such as nicks during haircuts or manicures. Symptoms include nausea, fatigue, jaundice and loss of appetite, which typically begin 3 to 4 months after infection. Some victims develop chronic hepatitis and can spread the disease to others for the rest of their lives.
Countries of Risk:
Hepatitis B is wide spread in many developing countries, especially in Africa, southeast Asia, the Middle East (except Israel), south and western Pacific Islands, the interior Amazon basin and certain parts of the Caribbean.
Preparations for Travel to Risk Areas & Recommended Immunizations:
Travelers should avoid casual sexual contacts and use latex condoms correctly for every sexual contact. Additionally, never use needles, razors, shavers or toothbrushes that were used by other people. Dont get tattoos or have any part of your body pierced during your trip. Your health care provider may recommend vaccination, especially if you are a frequent or long-term traveler or if you are anticipating medical care while abroad. Hepatitis B vaccination consists of a series of at least 3 injections over a 6-month period.