, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 248-255
Date: 19 Mar 2011

Hepatitis A and E Infection in International Travellers

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Hepatitis A is the most common vaccine-preventable infection in travellers. The incidence of hepatitis A for travellers ranges from 3.0 to 11.0 per 100,000 person-months and the case-fatality rate is as high as 2 per 100,000 in non-immune travellers. Hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection, significantly reducing the incidence of hepatitis A in travellers, and an important preventative intervention for the “last-minute” traveller. Hepatitis E virus is an important cause of enterically transmitted hepatitis in developing countries. The overall risk of hepatitis E in travellers visiting endemic countries is relatively low compared to hepatitis A. The majority of cases have been reported from the Indian subcontinent. The case fatality rate for hepatitis E is 1.2%, although this is substantially higher in pregnant women. A vaccine for hepatitis E is not available, and therefore travellers must be made aware of preventative measures to reduce their risk of infection.