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Is hepatitis B a travel vaccine?

Posted by Stuart Rose on

The risk of hepatitis B in unvaccinated travelers is low.  The risk is primarily related to the traveler’s lifestyle. The hepatitis B virus (like HIV and hepatitis C) is spread primarily by exchange of body fluids (e.g., unprotected sex with a new partner) and unsterile, shared needles (injecting drug use, tattoos, body piercing).

Since most travelers don't engage in these activities, I otherwise advise them not to get a medical injection overseas when there is the slightest possibility that non-sterile equipment may be used.

Most medical facilities in lesser-developed countries can't afford disposable needles and reuse them. Some travelers elect to bring sterile needles and syringes with them to give to a medical provider. These are available at Travel Medicine, Inc. (Suture/Syringe MEDIC)


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