Tips and recommendations for healthy travel to top destinations
Learn more about your flu vaccine options
Learn more about the travel visa requirements for top destinations
Hepatitis B is caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted primarily through contact with blood or blood-derived fluids, often by unprotected sexual activity. Open skin lesions from scabies and scratched insect bites can play a role in transmission of the hepatitis B virus if direct exposure to wound exudates occurs. Hepatitis B can be easily transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions and through medical, dental or other exposure to contaminated needles (e.g. IV drug use, acupuncture, tattooing, etc). Chronic Hepatitis B infection can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Adult travelers are urged to receive a full course of injections (3) before departure. If this is not possible, the Hepatitis B vaccine can be administered in an accelerated schedule. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are available together in a 3 shot series vaccine called Twinrix, saving several needle sticks. Check with your Passport Health Travel Medicine Specialist to see which approach is best for you.
Hepatitis B exists everywhere in the world and cuts through all socioeconomic groups. It's chronically present in all of Africa, China, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, the southern and western Pacific, the Middle East, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Amazon River Basin. Intermediate incidences of chronic Hepatitis B occur in South and Central America, Russia, Japan, southwest Asia, eastern and southern Europe and most areas surrounding the Amazon River Basin.
The hepatitis B vaccine requires two boosters in order to be fully effective. According to the CDC, one hepatitis B booster vaccine is given one month after the initial dose, the other after six months. Once all doses have been given, the vaccine will provide lifetime protection. Unlike some other vaccines, hepatitis B vaccination provides at least partial protection two weeks after the first dose. This means you can begin your series before your trip and complete it after.
So, if you are asking yourself, "What travel shots and vaccinations do I need?" or "Where do I get the Hepatitis B Vaccine?" schedule an appointment with your local Passport Health travel medicine clinic.
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