Travellers urged to seek hepatitis B vaccination before going abroad
London, UK (PRWeb UK) May 18, 2009 -- A new survey of travellers who visited hepatitis B endemic areas, reveals that over 55 per cent(1) of them were not vaccinated against the virus, which kills almost two people a minute(2).
More people are choosing destinations outside the Eurozone, such as Egypt and Turkey,(3) where hepatitis B may be common. The survey suggests that many travellers are still not seeking travel health advice and so putting themselves at risk of a preventable disease.
Despite its seriousness, the survey reveals that people admit they have travelled to destinations where hepatitis B is common without getting vaccinated and that they know little about the disease:(1)
Dr Jane Zuckerman, University College London Medical School, comments: "Hepatitis B is a devastating disease and unfortunately many people have it without knowing about it. It is a silent killer that can lead to liver cancer. It is essential to protect your health by getting appropriate travel health advice and vaccinations before embarking on your trip. Make sure you don't become infected and get travel health advice and vaccinations as soon as you have booked your holiday."
Hepatitis B is a serious but preventable infectious disease. The virus can survive for up to a week in dried blood and body fluids and just a tiny cut or scratch can let it into the body where it can infect the liver.(7) Hepatitis B can be easily prevented by getting vaccinated well before the departure date. Vaccination is very effective in preventing hepatitis B and can provide travellers with peace of mind for many holidays to come.
Notes to editors
The online survey was conducted by www.OnePoll.com on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline (www.vaccines.co.uk) during April 2009. The survey was completed by 3,000 travellers. 1,897 visited destinations in the last five years where levels of hepatitis B are considered intermediate and high by the World Health Organisation. These respondents were questioned further.
GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.
1. Online survey conducted by OnePoll.com on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline. April 2009
2. The Hepatitis B Foundation. http://www.hepb.org/pdf/hepb_fast_facts.pdf. (Last accessed 11.05.09)
3. Provisional data for 2008. International Passenger Survey, National Statistics © Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO (and the Queen's Printer for Scotland)/2008
4. Pollard AJ. Hepatitis B vaccination. BMJ 2007; 335: 950
5. Rising Curve: Chronic Hepatitis B Infection in the UK. The Hepatitis B Foundation UK. http://www.hepb.org.uk/information/resources/rising_curve_chronic_hepatitis_b_infection_in_the_uk. (Last accessed 11.05.09)
6. World Health Organisation Factsheet No 204 2008 revision. Hepatitis B. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/ (Last accessed 11.05.09)
7. Mast EE et al. Transmission of blood borne pathogens during sports: risk and prevention. Ann Int Med 1995; 122 (4): 283
8. De Franchis et al Consensus statement, EASL International Consensus Conference on Hepatitis B J Hepatol 2003; 39: S3-S25
9. Zuckerman JN., Steffen R. J Travel Med (2000): 7; 170-174
10. Ryder SD, Beckingham IJ ABC of diseases of liver, pancreas and biliary system: acute hepatitis 2001a BMJ; 322 (7280): 219-221
11. Lin KW, Kircher JT. Hepatitis B. Am Fam Physician 2004; 69 (1): 75-82
12. Zuckerman JN, Hoet B. Hepatitis B immunisation in travellers: poor risk perception and inadequate protection. Travel Med Inf Dis 2008; 6: 315-320
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