Hepatitis A is a viral infection, which causes liver inflammation. It is spread by eating food and water contaminated by the stools of an infected person as a result or poor sanitation or poor personal hygiene. It is estimated worldwide there are 1.5 million new cases of illness due to hepatitis A each year.
It can take two to six weeks (incubation period) for symptoms of hepatitis A to develop after exposure to the virus. The severity of symptoms varies with mild symptoms to serious illness. Initial symptoms are similar to flu and include mild temperature, nausea and vomiting, sore throat, loss of appetite, fatigue, joint and muscle pain and abdominal pain.
Loss of Appetite
Joint and Muscle Pain
After 10 days of initial symptoms you will probably being to experience symptoms associated with your liver. These include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), passing dark urine and pale stools, itchy skin and you liver becoming swollen and tender. It is likely you will recover completely with two months, although some people may have relapses. In a small number if individuals symptoms can persist for six months.
Dark Urine and Pale Stools
Countries at risk
Most cases occur when travellers visit parts of the word that have high levels of poverty, are overcrowded and have limited access to sanitation and clean water. Hepatitis A is wide spread in sub-Saharan and North Africa, Indian subcontinent, some parts of the Far East, the Middle East and South and Central America. The virus is passed from eating contaminated food or water, or person to person via poor hand hygiene.
Advice for travellers
By following basic precautions you can prevent yourself from catching Hepatitis A.
Only drink water that has been recently boiled, or drink from a bottle that is properly sealed.
Avoid ice cream and don't have ice in your drinks.
Avoid uncooked fruits and vegetables unless you have washed them in safe water or peeled them yourself.
Avoid shellfish, seafood or salad. Ensure food is freshly cooked and served hot.
Follow good personal hygiene and hand washing rules.
The hepatitis vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection. There are three main types of vaccines and travellers may be recommended one of the following courses depending on your travel plans.
• A single monovalent vaccine to cover hepatitis A.
• A course of three injections of combined hepatitis A and B (hepatitis B is another liver infection)
• A single dose of combined hepatitis A and typhoid fever vaccine.
Ideally the single vaccine should be given at least two weeks before you travel, although it can be given later if necessary. This injection will protect you against hepatitis A for one year, and a booster dose will protect you long term for at least 25 years, and should be taken 6-12 months of the first vaccine.
Number of doses
From 1 Year:
Two Doses- Initial dose then booster dose for 25 years immunity
Second dose administered 6-12 months later.
Meningitis ACWY For Hajj/Umrah
Meningitis symptoms can develop quickly and they can be difficult to spot as they as similar to symptoms of flu. Infection with meningitis is an emergency and requires admission into a hospital where you will be given antibiotics. All pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah are required to show proof of vaccination in the last three years against meningitis ACWY.
Vaccination is required at least 10 days before you are due to travel and you will also receive a certificate as part of your vaccination.