Third of travellers fail to receive hepatitis B jab

A third of travellers visiting a hepatitis B endemic area failed to get vaccinated despite having sought advice from a GP or nurse before travelling, according to a survey.

Photograph: istock
Photograph: istock

The online survey of 205 UK travel nurses by OpinionHealth on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline also found that only half of nurses thought that adventure or extreme sports such as bungee jumping or skiing increased risk of exposure to hepatitis B.

Over 22% did not consider that emergency medical care in hepatitis B risk areas puts a person at increased risk of the disease.

Nearly 22% incorrectly thought that drinking tap water (a common transmission route for the hepatitis A virus) potentially puts a traveller at increased risk of contracting hepatitis B.

Dr Jane Zuckerman, of the University College London’s medical school, said: ‘Providing accurate, up-to-date and timely information about all of the risks that increase the chances of contracting hepatitis B is essential when consulting with travellers who are travelling to destinations where the disease is endemic.

‘Considering all eventualities of your traveller’s journey could really help protect them against travel-related illness and prevent them catching diseases like hepatitis B.’

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