Health warning over hepatitis A in Asia

Dusseldorf, Germany  - Travellers to southern Asia are advised by the Centre for Travel Medicine in Dusseldorf, Germany, to get a vaccination against hepatitis A before they leave.

Hepatitis A can be easily avoided by following basic hygiene rules when it comes to preparing food.

However, a recent case in China, where bottled water caused infections, makes vaccination a safer option. At least 330 people are believed to have contracted the disease in April in the southern Chinese city of Guiyang.

Hepatitis A is transmitted by viruses that occur all over the world. Infections are usually caused by eating food or drinking fluids that have been contaminated with faeces.

Sea food such as mussels and crustaceans are especially prone to the virus.

As viruses multiply faster in warmer climates, countries in southern latitudes have higher levels of hepatitis A.

A second vaccination between six and 12 months after the initial injection will protect the body for at least 10 years.

Check your health insurer to see if they cover the cost of the vaccination. (dpa)