Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A Vaccines and Vaccinations in the West Midlands

We provide a full range of Hepatitis A travel vaccinations and medication in the West Midlands

Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver. Symptoms are generally mild but increase in severity with age. The virus is spread via the faecal-oral route via contaminated food or close person to person contact. Certain travellers are at high risk of being infected with the virus. They are those:

At the West Midlands Travel Clinic we can discuss with you the Hepatitis A Vaccines and guide you in the right direction when travelling abroad.

  • Tourists/travellers staying with or visiting the local population
  • Frequent and/or long-stay travellers to areas where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor
  • Already with existing liver disease or haemophilia
  • Sexual contact between two men
  • Injecting drug users
  • Working in high risk hepatitis A areas
  • Going to areas of hepatitis A outbreaks who have limited access to safe water and medical care

Contact our Clinics View All Vaccine Prices

Vaccination Pricing

£62.50 Per dose

£62.50 Per Course

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms are often mild or absent in young children, but the disease becomes more serious with advancing age. Recovery can vary from weeks to months. Following hepatitis A illness, immunity is lifelong.

Symptoms include:

  • Children are normally asymptomatic
  • Jaundice may occur in 70-80% of cases
  • Malaise
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

The Vaccination

Hepatitis A vaccine

Ages (Years) Doses Required Schedule Time before travel Boost required at
2-16 1 (paed) - 2 weeks preferably but anytime ok* 6-12 months after 1st dose
16 – 85 1 - 2 weeks preferably but anytime ok* 6-12 months after 1st dose

Hepatits A & Hepatitis B Combined vaccine

Ages (Years) Doses Required Schedule Time before travel Boost required at
16-85 3 to 4 0, 7, 21 days, + at 1 year** Up to day before* See specialist pharmacist

*Vaccine most effective when given plenty of time to develop immunity. Some immunity will be present if the vaccine is given up to the day before travel.

**accelerated schedule. Full protection not given until final dose at 1 year. Will give adequate protection if leaving sooner.

How do you catch Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily spreads through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Here are the common ways in which hepatitis A can be transmitted:

  1. Consumption of contaminated food: Eating food that has been contaminated with the hepatitis A virus is a common mode of transmission. This can happen when food is handled by an infected person who did not practice proper hand hygiene after using the toilet or has poor personal hygiene.
  2. Drinking contaminated water: Drinking water that has been contaminated with the hepatitis A virus is another way of contracting the infection. This can occur in areas with inadequate sanitation or poor water treatment practices, or when water sources become contaminated with fecal matter containing the virus.
  3. Close contact with an infected person: Direct contact with an infected person's feces or through close personal contact can lead to the transmission of hepatitis A. This can occur through activities such as changing diapers or engaging in sexual practices that involve oral-anal contact.
  4. Consumption of contaminated shellfish: Shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and mussels, can become contaminated with hepatitis A if they are harvested from contaminated waters.
  5. Travel to areas with high hepatitis A prevalence: Traveling to regions with high rates of hepatitis A, particularly countries with poor sanitation and hygiene practices, can increase the risk of exposure to the virus.

It's important to note that unlike hepatitis B and hepatitis C, hepatitis A does not result in chronic infection. Most individuals recover fully from hepatitis A without long-term consequences.

Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet and before handling food, and ensuring the consumption of safe food and water, are important preventive measures. Vaccination against hepatitis A is also available and is recommended for individuals at higher risk of exposure or for those planning to travel to areas with increased prevalence of the virus.

Who is at risk from Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds. However, certain populations are considered to be at a higher risk of contracting hepatitis A. Here are some groups that are more susceptible to hepatitis A infection:

  1. Individuals in areas with poor sanitation: People living in regions with inadequate sanitation facilities or limited access to clean water are at a higher risk of hepatitis A. This includes areas with overcrowded living conditions, insufficient hygiene practices, or inadequate sewage disposal systems.
  2. Travelers to regions with high hepatitis A prevalence: People traveling to countries or regions where hepatitis A is more common, especially those with limited access to clean water and sanitation, are at an increased risk. Proper vaccination before travel can provide protection.
  3. Close contacts of infected individuals: Household members or sexual contacts of individuals infected with hepatitis A have a higher risk of contracting the virus through close personal contact or contact with contaminated objects.
  4. Men who have sex with men (MSM): MSM, particularly those who engage in sexual practices involving oral-anal contact, have an increased risk of hepatitis A infection due to the oral-fecal transmission route.
  5. Injecting drug users: Individuals who use injection drugs, particularly those who share needles or other drug paraphernalia, are at a higher risk of hepatitis A infection. This is due to the potential for direct contact with contaminated blood or through poor hygiene practices.
  6. Individuals with chronic liver disease: People with pre-existing liver conditions, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection, cirrhosis, or other forms of chronic liver disease, may be more susceptible to complications from hepatitis A infection.
  7. People working in or residing in institutions: Individuals in settings such as daycare centers, prisons, or residential care facilities, where close contact and poor hygiene practices can facilitate the spread of the virus, may be at an increased risk.
  8. People experiencing homelessness: Homeless individuals often face challenges in accessing clean water, sanitation facilities, and healthcare services, which can increase their risk of hepatitis A infection.

Vaccination is an effective measure to prevent hepatitis A. It is recommended for individuals at higher risk of exposure, including those in the above-mentioned groups, as well as for individuals traveling to regions with increased prevalence of the virus. Practicing good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing and avoiding the consumption of contaminated food and water, is also crucial in reducing the risk of hepatitis A transmission.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that affects the liver. The symptoms of hepatitis A can range from mild to severe and typically appear within two to six weeks after exposure to the virus. Here are the common symptoms associated with hepatitis A:

  1. Fatigue: Feeling tired and lacking energy is a common symptom of hepatitis A.
  2. Loss of appetite: Hepatitis A can cause a decrease in appetite, leading to weight loss and malnutrition.
  3. Nausea and vomiting: Many individuals with hepatitis A experience nausea, sometimes accompanied by episodes of vomiting.
  4. Abdominal pain: Some people may experience discomfort or pain in the abdominal area, particularly in the upper right quadrant where the liver is located.
  5. Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) is a hallmark symptom of hepatitis A. It occurs due to the buildup of bilirubin, a yellow pigment, in the blood.
  6. Dark urine: The urine may appear darker than usual, often resembling the color of tea, due to the presence of bilirubin.
  7. Pale-colored stools: Hepatitis A can cause light-colored or clay-colored stools as a result of reduced bile flow from the liver.
  8. Fever: Mild to moderate fever is common during the acute phase of hepatitis A infection.
  9. Joint pain: Some individuals may experience joint pain or muscle aches.
  10. Itchy skin: Itching of the skin can occur in some cases.

It's important to note that not everyone with hepatitis A will experience all of these symptoms, and some individuals, particularly young children, may have no noticeable symptoms at all (asymptomatic). However, even without symptoms, individuals can still spread the virus to others.

Most people recover from hepatitis A without long-term complications, and the symptoms usually resolve within a few weeks to months. However, in rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to severe liver inflammation and acute liver failure, especially in older adults or individuals with pre-existing liver disease.

If you suspect you have been exposed to hepatitis A or are experiencing symptoms, it's important to seek medical evaluation and testing for proper diagnosis and management.

What are the Hepatitis Risk Areas?

Hepatitis risk areas

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