Table of Contents

What is Hepatitis B?

Presently, hundreds of millions worldwide are carriers of the virus that both damages the liver and spreads person-to-person. Symptoms of infection include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), fever, joint pain and tiredness.  The illness may last a short time for some but result in long-term infection in others.  Chronic infection can lead to irreversible liver damage and liver cancer.  Due to the lifetime protection immunization provides, many opt to receive the Hepatitis B vaccine as prevention.  

How is the Virus Spread?

Hepatitis B virus is transmitted person-to-person from blood or body fluids.  For the international traveler, exposure can happen if they suffer injury and need medical care.  In many medium and low income countries, medical equipment may not be sterilized properly and blood supplies are not considered safe. Other risks for exposure include tattoos and sexual contact while traveling abroad.

Injuries or accidents while traveling abroad may expose you to the Hepatitis B virus. Vaccination before exposure is the best prevention
Once fully vaccinated against Hepatitis B you are protected for a life-time of travel

Where is Hepatitis B Virus Found?

Nearly 300 million people in every country of the world are known carriers of the virus.  Because the disease is common worldwide, many travelers decide to protect themselves against illness with the vaccine for Hepatitis B. 

Who Needs the Hepatitis B Vaccine? 

All unvaccinated international travelers should consider the Hepatitis B vaccination, especially if you travel frequently.  Adventure travelers, medical tourists, and those with longer itineraries have a greater chance of contracting the disease. 

In the United States, all children are recommended the vaccination as part of their routine childhood vaccines.  Many adults however remain unvaccinated because the Hepatitis B vaccine was not available when they were young. 

How is the Vaccination Given?

The vaccine for Hepatitis B is administered in the muscle of the arm.  Three doses are given over 6 months and can provide lifetime protection.  If you don’t have time to finish the full series before your trip, don’t worry!  Receiving one or two doses of the Hepatitis B vaccination can provide significant protection before your departure.

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B Combination Vaccine

Many travelers choose to protect against both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B infection with the combination vaccine named Twinrix.  This two-in-one immunization is available for anyone 18 years and older and requires three doses to be protected for lifetime.

Where Can I Find the Hepatitis B Vaccine Near Me?

Destination Health Travel Clinic makes it easy to protect yourself from the Hepatitis B virus with online scheduling. Alternatively, call an office near you for an appointment today.  If you are uncertain of your vaccination history, you can also opt for the Hepatitis B titer antibody test to check your immunity.

Additional Vaccines to Consider for Travel

Other vaccines are equally important as the Hepatitis B vaccine.  Protect against additional human-to-human transmitted diseases including; Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR), Meningitis, and Pertussis (Tdap)