Ask the average person what viral disease they think claims the most lives, and HIV might be the likely response. However, this is not so, according to research in the Lancet. The research suggests that viral hepatitis caused 1.45m deaths in 2013 compared to 1.2m lives claimed by AIDS in 2014. What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is best defined as an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis virus. There are 5 types of hepatitis virus called; A,B,C,D and E. Contaminated food is usually the cause of virus types A and E. Types B, C and D are spread via infected bodily fluid contact. Virus types B and C lead to the most deaths.
Hepatitis A and B are vaccine preventable. Many countries offer these vaccines routinely on the childhood schedule but this is not the case in the UK.
Hepatitis Vaccination at the Fleet Street Clinic
Vaccinations are needed to give protection against hepatitis A and B and they currently are not part of the childhood vaccination schedule in the UK. At the Fleet Street Clinic, we make it a priority to have a good supply of hepatitis A and B vaccines for children all year round. The hepatitis vaccinations can be given individually, or as a combined injection. For long lasting protection, several doses are required. Our vaccination team are highly trained, well-qualified and have dozens of years’ experience between them. Our vaccination service takes place in a clean, comfortable and safe environment.
You can learn more about our vaccinations here.
While hepatitis is causing millions of fatalities across the globe, you can take steps towards protection against the virus by booking an appointment for hepatitis vaccinations at Fleet Street Clinic today.
At present, there is currently a shortage of Hepatitis B vaccine available in the United Kingdom and across the world.
Despite current global shortages, Fleet Street Clinic maintains good stock levels of the Hepatitis B vaccine.
The Hepatitis B virus is one of the most prevalent blood-borne viruses worldwide and is a major cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer. In the majority of cases, Hepatitis B is asymptomatic – without symptoms. It is easily preventable through vaccination, and we strongly believe this vaccine should be offered more widely – all young, sexually active adults ought to be protected.
Although the overall risk for travellers is low, Hepatitis B immunisation is recommended for travellers travelling to East Asia and Sub Saharan Africa where between 5 – 10 % of the adult population is estimated to have persistent Hepatitis B infection. High rates of infection are also found in the Amazon, southern parts of eastern and central Europe, the Middle East and Indian subcontinents. The risk understandable increases for long-stay travellers in high-risk areas.
Certain behaviours and activities put individuals at higher risk, such as unprotected sex, adventure sports, body piercing, tattoos and injected drug usage.
Receiving medical or dental care in high-risk countries will also increase your risk and it is advised to avoid unless absolutely necessary. Travellers who have pre-existing conditions which may make it more likely for them to need medical attention should definitely consider the Hepatitis vaccination prior to travelling.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a series of viral infections that all cause an inflammation of the liver if not treated, and is responsible for two out of every three liver cancer deaths. The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2018 was ‘Find the Missing Millions’, since 300 million people globally are living with viral hepatitis and are completely unaware of it.
Consequently, the Fleet Street Travel Clinic recommend that you ‘GET ADVICE. GET TESTED. GET VACCINATED’. This is especially the case if you are travelling to high risk areas, namely the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Central and South America, the Far East and Eastern Europe.
Hepatitis A is spread through food and water contaminated with the virus. Travellers should exercise caution by:
- Ensuring all food is cooked thoroughly and served hot
- Sticking to bottled water with a seal, or boiled water
- Avoiding ice as well as tap water
- Only consuming fruit that can be peeled or sliced without contamination (such as bananas)
- Avoiding high-risk food such as shellfish, raw or rare meat, salad, buffet food and reheated food
Hepatitis B and C are contracted through contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. This can include:
- Mother to baby transmission at the time of birth
- Unprotected sex
- Contaminated medical equipment such as needles and syringes
- Contaminated tattoo or body piercing equipment
9 out of 10 people living with viral hepatitis are unaware they have it. Significantly, Hepatitis C is the most common type in the UK and often causes no noticeable symptoms. Fleet Street Clinic offers a range of blood tests and health screenings, and testing is quick, easy, and painless.
- Those who are at occupational risk (such as health care or aid workers)
- Travellers who visit high-risk areas, or those who travel frequently or for longer periods
- Travellers who have pre-existing conditions which may make it more likely for them to need medical attention
- Those who participate in lifestyle behaviours that may increase the risk (such as unprotected sex and injecting drug use)
Although there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, it can be treated with effective antiviral medications.