What you need to know about hepatitis A and B

What are hepatitis A and B?

Hepatitis A and B are two serious liver diseases caused by the hepatitis A and B viruses. These viruses are endemic (constantly present) in much of the developing world. Many popular holiday destinations such as the Caribbean are considered risk areas for unprotected travellers.

How can I contract
hepatitis A?

You can contract the hepatitis A virus by ingesting food or drinks that have been contaminated by human waste. That means, you could be exposed by:

  • Eating food handled by an infected restaurant worker
  • Eating raw or undercooked seafood/shellfish from contaminated water
  • Eating salads and produce rinsed in contaminated water
  • Ingesting contaminated water or ice
  • Bathing, showering or swimming in contaminated water

How can I contract
hepatitis B?

You can contract hepatitis B by coming into contact with the bodily fluids (e.g., blood, semen, vaginal fluid or saliva) of an infected person. That means, you could be exposed by:

  • Getting a manicure, pedicure, tattoo, or piercing with improperly sterilized tools
  • Having sexual contact with an infected partner
  • Giving first aid to, or receiving it from, an infected person
  • Having a medical or dental procedure with contaminated equipment
  • Sharing personal grooming items (e.g., nail clippers) with an infected person

What are the possible
symptoms of hepatitis A or B infection?*

Symptoms of hepatitis A
may include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Feeling unwell
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue

Symptoms of hepatitis B
may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Joint pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-coloured stool

What are the possible consequences
of hepatitis A or B infection?*

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A infection can have mild to severe consequences on infected individuals, which can range from a few weeks to several months in duration. Although hepatitis A is not linked with chronic illness or carrier states, 15% of hepatitis A cases experience relapses that can last up to 12 months. While most infected people recover, the older you are, the more severe hepatitis A can be. Approximately 25% of infected adults are hospitalized. The case fatality rate, the proportion of deaths per the number of people with a particular medical condition, is 0.1% to 0.3%, and can reach 1.8% in adults 50 years and older.

Hepatitis B

While most people recover, 10% of infected adults become chronic carriers. If this happens, you may pass the virus on to others for the rest of your life without having symptoms yourself. Chronic carrier state may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.*

Why risk it?
Talk to your healthcare
provider about TWINRIX®

Vaccination is the best way to help prevent hepatitis A and B disease.