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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can lead to severe liver problems and can be fatal. It can spread through blood and bodily fluids, such as semen and vaginal fluids. The World Health Organisation estimates hepatitis B is responsible for 600,000 deaths a year worldwide. 

St. Basil's Cathedral


Most people do not have any symptoms, while they fight off the virus. However they can still pass the virus to other people. If symptoms do develop,  this is usually 40 to 160 days after exposure and will pass within one to three months. Symptoms include flu-like symptoms, high temperature, aches and pain, loss of appetite and weight loss, nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea. Severe symptoms include abdominal pain and yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice).

Thermometer icon

High Temperature

Muscle with energy sign, aches and muscle pain icon

Aches and Pain

Person with open mouth, vomiting icon

Nausea, Vomiting

Stomach with forbidden sign, loss of appetite icon

Loss of Appetite

Bowel movement, intestines with dots sign, diarrhoea icon


Eye, jaundice icon


Stomach with dots sign, abdominal pain icon

Abdominal Pain

Countries at risk

Areas where hepatitis B is common include Southern and Eastern Europe, Russia, sub- Saharan Africa, East and South East Asia, South and Central America and islands in the South Pacific.

Advice for travellers

The risk for tourists and short term travellers is low. The risk increases with certain activities which put you in contact with blood or bodily fluids. Travellers can be exposed by receiving medical or dental treatment in a developing country. The infection is also spread via unprotected sex, needle sharing, blood transfusions, tattooing, body piercings and sharing razors and towels contaminated with infected blood.


Hepatitis vaccine is offered to travellers visiting areas of the world where the disease is widespread. The vaccine is thought to be 95% effective at preventing the disease. Travellers may be recommended one of the following, either rapidly over one month or the standard course over four to six months.
• A course of three injections of hepatitis B vaccine
• A course of three injections of hepatitis A and B vaccine
Five year boosters are recommended for anyone thought to be at continuing risk of infection.

Number of doses

Three or four depending on regime chosen

For 16 years and older (Engerix B 20mcg)
1. Standard-0, 1, 6 months
2. Accelerated-0, 1, 2 and 12 months 
3. Ultra-rapid-day 0, day 7 and day 21 and 12 months

Birth to 16 years
1. Standard schedule-day 0, 1 month and 6 months
2. Accelerated schedule-day 0, 1 month, 2 months and 12 month



In travellers, following completion of the full course, immunity is considered to be lifelong. A booster at 5 years is only required if there is high risk travel or for occupational health.



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.

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