Hepatitis A in Europe

16 January 2018

Article: 52/0201

On 5 January 2018, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported a large increase in hepatitis A infections in 2017 compared with previous years. These infections mostly affected men who have sex with men (MSM).

Current advice to travellers stresses that:

  • most travellers will be at low risk of hepatitis A
  • as with all other illnesses spread by the faecal oral route, precautionary measures should be taken to avoid consumption of potentially contaminated drinks and drinking water and to ensure food is uncontaminated or cooked thoroughly
  • personal hygiene when eating and drinking is also important including hand washing prior to eating and using clean plates, cups and utensils

Vaccination should be considered under the following circumstances and is dependent on the individual risk assessment:

  • non-immune travellers to developing countries are at most risk of infection
  • occasionally cases have occurred in travellers staying in good quality hotel accommodation but the risk is increased for
  • those travelling to areas where they will be exposed to unsafe drinking water
  • where sanitation conditions are poor
  • travellers visiting friends and family
  • long stay travellers
  • men who have sex with men (MSM)

Further information on hepatitis A is available on TRAVAX (for health professionals) and on fitfortravel (for the general public).

Source: TRAVAX, 10 January 2018