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recovery from the illness can take people weeks or months, leading to time absent from work, school, or daily life
ingestion of contaminated food or water, close personal or sexual contact with an infected person, intravenous drug use
126 million cases
worldwide annually (estimated in 2005)
Fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine, and jaundice
in rare instances, acute liver failure that can result in death
Precautions against Hepatitis A, including good hygiene measures, safe eating and drinking habits,
and vaccination, should be considered:
- Personal hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing with safe water after using the toilet and before preparing food.
- Exercise caution when consuming food that could have been prepared by someone with the infection who hasn’t washed their hands properly or drinks made with contaminated water or ice cubes.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish
Hepatitis A Vaccine ( Havrix or Avaxim )
The Hepatitis A (Havrix or Avaxim ) vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the infection. The vaccine is administered as a series of two shots given at least six months apart. Receiving the vaccines at least 2 weeks prior to the travel will provide>95% protection. However, even last-minute travellers are highly recommended to receive the vaccine before their departure and can consider an accelerated schedule. Both Havrix and Avaxim are interchangeable and junior formulations (Havrix-Junior and Avaxim-Junior) are recommended for children one-year-old or older.
Twinrix Vaccine: Hepatitis A & B Combination
The. Hepatitis A vaccine can also be given in combination with Hepatitis B ( Twinrix ). It is usually given as a series of three shots given at 0, 1, and 6 months. It can also be given on an accelerated regimen at 0, 7, and 21 days followed by a one-year booster for travellers who are not able to receive the standard regimen. Ideally, all the injections should be completed prior to departure or at least the first two injections (0 and 1 month) or all three injections of accelerated series (0,7, and 21 days) before the trip in order to have adequate immunity for the Hepatitis A portion.
Vivaxim Vaccine: Hepatitis A & Typhoid Combination
The Hepatitis A vaccine could also be given in combination with typhoid vaccine (Vivaxim) for travellers who need to have immunity against both for their trip. Vivaxim should be given the latest 2 weeks prior to travelling. Vivaxim injection is recommended for those 16-years-old or older. Individuals who receive Vivaxim prior to their trip should receive the booster for Hepatitis A as Havrix or Avaxim six months or later.