Monday, January 31, 2011

55 percent of travelers needlessly put themselves at risk from a potentially fatal virus

A new survey of travelers who visited hepatitis B endemic areas, reveals that over 55 per cent of them were not vaccinated against the virus, which kills almost two people a minute.


More people are choosing destinations outside the Eurozone, such as Egypt and Turkey, where hepatitis B may be common. The survey suggests that many travelers are still not seeking travel health advice and so putting themselves at risk of a preventable disease.


Hepatitis B is passed on via blood and body fluids and can cause flu-like symptoms, jaundice and more seriously, liver cancer. 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. Hepatitis B can be easily prevented by getting vaccinated well before the departure date and can provide travelers with peace of mind for many holidays to come.



Official sources estimate that as many as 180,000 people are infected with hepatitis B in the UK, however the Hepatitis B Foundation propose that this figure may be as high as 325,000. Common in destinations such as Southern Europe, South-East Asia, Africa and the Middle and Far East, hepatitis B is a global problem that has infected about 2 billion people, 350 million of whom have chronic (long-term) infection. Worldwide, one million people die each year from the virus – that’s nearly two people a minute.


 The survey

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 travelers. 1,897 visited destinations in the last five years where levels of hepatitis B are considered intermediate and high by the World Health Organization. These respondents were questioned further.

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