Hepatitis a the disease and the vaccine

disease india prophylaxisThe Hepatitis A-Virus is transmitted through contaminated drinking water, juices or insufficiently cooked foods (salads, unpeeled fruits, seafood, ice cream). It occurs mainly in countries with unfavorable hygienic conditions (in Asia incl. Turkey, throughout the African continent, in Central and South America and Eastern Europe).

hepatitis a the disease and the vaccine

Yellow eyes, one of the symptoms of hepatitis A. Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The virus is therefore relatively often brought to Switzerland by travelers from these countries. In Switzerland, the risk of contracting hepatitis A is low because direct contact with an infected person who excretes the virus in their stool is necessary.

When hepatitis A is contracted in childhood, the course of infection is usually benign, although severe forms of the disease can also occur. In adults, hepatitis A causes loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice, fever and severe fatigue, which can last for weeks to months. Once recovered, there is no risk of chronic disease, unlike hepatitis B. However, in rare cases, hepatitis A can be aggressive. Require a liver transplant or even lead to death.

Hepatitis A vaccine

The vaccine against hepatitis A contains inactivated viruses whose effect is supported by an aluminum salt. It is available as a single vaccine or in combination with a hepatitis B vaccine.

For the hepatitis A vaccination, two vaccination doses are required at intervals of six months. The combination hepatitis A/B vaccine is given in two doses six months apart if the person vaccinated is under 16 years old. After completion of the 16. Three doses are required before the age of 18. The second dose is given after a. The third administered after six months.

– Patients with chronic liver disease.

– Travelers to countries* with moderate and high incidence of the disease. – Children from countries with moderate and high incidence of the disease who live in Switzerland and return to their country of origin for a temporary stay. – Drug-injecting individuals. – Men with sexual contact with men. – People with close occupational contact with drug users. – Persons with close occupational contact with persons from countries with high incidence of the disease. Sewer workers. Sewage treatment plant employees. – Laboratory personnel working with the hepatitis A virus. – In secondary prevention within 7 days of exposure.

Two doses of vaccine are required for vaccination. Boosters are not necessary.

Degree of protection of the vaccination against hepatitis A

The vaccine is safe, well tolerated and leads to immunity in 99% of vaccinated individuals after two doses. The vaccine also helps prevent hepatitis A symptoms in 95 to 100% of cases. In the rare cases where hepatitis A occurs despite vaccination, the course is generally mitigated. In older people, the vaccine may have reduced efficacy.

Known side effects of the hepatitis A vaccine

The vaccination is very well tolerated. Local reactions may occur at the puncture site (redness, pain, swelling). Rarely have headache, fatigue or fever as a result of vaccination. After 1 to 3 days these reactions disappear again.

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