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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Increase in Hepatitis A in Europe

17 Jan 2017

On the 13 January 2017 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reportedLink an increase of hepatitis A among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Between February and December 2016, a total of 24 cases of hepatitis A infected with two distinct strains were reported by Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Spain, Italy and Germany observed an increase of hepatitis A among men.

On 11 January 2017, Germany reported 21 confirmed cases of hepatitis A detected in Berlin between November and December 2016. Of these cases 20 are male, 14 of which stated homosexual contacts. Three of the male cases reported a travel history to Morocco, Asia/Australia and Spain/France, respectively.

Advice for Travellers

Hepatitis A is spread by faecal-oral route, usually through contaminated food and water. However, there is also an association of hepatitis A among MSM and vaccination against hepatitis A can be offered to MSM, regardless of whether they are travelling to or going to reside in areas of high or intermediate prevalence.