Travel and HBV

Travel, Migration and Hepatitis B

With up to 10 million migrants arriving from endemic for hepatitis b and c areas, there is a need for changing advice for a changing population. Citizens from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe are often missing their World Health Organisation recommended hepatitis B tests and vaccinations. 
Alone on Earth the UK is still politically correctly pretending our endemic survivors miraculously get better on arrival even though our liver units report 81% of HBV cases are from migration. Although testing an average of 3% HBV positive since 2002 in maternity where they are all tested, it has been decided not to tell anyone, neither the migrants who die far quicker or policy makers who could offer genuine HBV care, vaccinations and testing at our borders. 300,000 people have been simply written off to die as fast as possible by a political not medical approach that says we cannot say they have anything nasty, even as every border in the EU is testing migrants at 3% HBV positive for 16 years.
Conversely hundreds of UK travelers are going to places where 70% of the population catch HBV completely unwarned and unvaccinated, the key infection routes are

Overseas Dentistry
Overseas Medical Procedures (no overseas doctor would ever imagine someone from the first world is unvaccinated.)
Overseas Rituals eg FGM/Haj Ritual Shaves
Contact Sports Tours
Sharing of Razors
Visiting Beauticians and Barbers

Sadly many who request HBV vaccinations prior to travel are told it is unnecessary by GP's who still fantasise HBV is solely caught from sexual and drug taking behaviours.

Many helpline caller reports paint a clear picture.

1. “I went to Thailand and honestly not for a sexual escapade but after 2 months I met a lovely girl, who did not work in a bar, and after meeting her parents, fell in love and planned to move there at some point. However on my return to the UK to earn more money for us both, I came down with HBV which has since become chronic. My girlfriend has since also tested positive as have her mother chbv, father immune and brother chbv. To say I am stunned is an understatement if a place has 70% hbv infection levels why are travelers not being told?”

2. “I am an Indian Asian and as is common went to India before my wedding to buy jewelry and my wedding sari. I also indulged in a lot of very economical beauty treatments. Derma abrasion, manicures, pedicures, waxing, wedding henna markings and botox injections. On returning to thee UK I got married and came down with hbv and my husband shortly thereafter. Basically the honeymoon period of my life was destroyed by hbv and now I am chronic and even children is something I am terrified of rather than look forward to, even sex is something I am frightened of now. Thank God my husband cleared the virus so at least I don’t blame myself for that.”

3. “We expected the holiday we would never forget, 9 weeks into our dream around the world journey my husband came down with fulminant HBV in Southern Italy, he was rushed to an isolation unit drifting into delirium going bright yellow. I googled that this could be the end of him and read sex is 100 times as infectious as HIV, so I was just sitting there watching the whites of his eyes going black imagining I would be keeling over soon. The costs emotionally and financially were crippling. Thank God I stumbled across Paul who emailed and took the calls and got some answers into my head. We feel that healthcare in Egypt where he had an accident or Cyprus where he had the stitches out and an injection was the source.”

4. “ I asked my GP for all the vaccinations and am flying in 3 days and have just heard of HBV being common in China where I am to teach English. Why on Earth did my GP not recommend a vaccination?”

5. “I plan a gap year in the third world as a Volunteer ans am flying in 2 weeks, why do they not recommend the HBV vaccination?”
N6. “I sent to Sierra Leone, little realising that the reason was for my female circumcision, on my return I found I was going yellow at school and diagnosed with HBV. It is only now I am at University and out of home I am searching for answers to all this.”

7. “I am very confused I asked my GP for a HBV vaccination and he said he would not give me one on the NHS, I pleaded can I pay, he then said there is no risk in India and he is not vaccinated. My father has died of HBV, is it so odd to demand a vaccination?”

8. “I am flying to Turkey for a job in 2 weeks I just cannot find a doctor, a chemist anyone to vaccinate me for HBV, why?”

9. “I took the family to see relatives in Nigeria for 2 months, on returning our two boys have come down with hepatitis b. We have since learnt my family had many hbv carriers and we stayed with them. Why does no one talk about this problem, we had so many vaccinations but not the ones we needed.”

10. “I am a medical intern and was due to work in a Indian hospital during my break from studies but have just been advised by them that my HBV vaccination is inadequate, I told my GP my intention 6 months ago, why has he left it until 2 weeks before I fly to start vaccinating?”

11. “My father is dying of HBV liver cancer in Canada, the Canadian visa people are advising a HBV vaccination and my GP has advised he cannot vaccinate me as it takes 6 months, help.” We got a accelerated course for this lady and she flew after shot 2 in 7 days.

 12. “I am hbv positive and pregnant and onward to Dubai.” We pointed out that people who declare HBV can be interned and deported at 7 months pregnant she canceled shopping trip.

 13. “I asked my doctor for hbv vaccination as I am onward to China for a year and had 2 injections 9 years ago, he offered a booster injection?” Wrong a repeat course and a titer test is needed.

 14. “I have been working as a Chef in Greece for a year and have contracted HBV, I have since discovered a workmate also has it, it is common here why does no one mention vaccination?”

15. “My husband went for 4 months work in Hong Kong and returned with HBV my GP led e to believe it was a sex disease so I kicked him out into the garage and he hung himself. I have since realised his extensive dentistry was probably the cause and am racked with guilt. Why wasn’t he vaccinated? Why do GP’s insist it is from sex and drug abuse?”

16. “I went for my bypass in Sr Lanka to avoid MRSA and have returned with HBV? Unfortunately the unit had no idea someone from the first world could be unvaccinated.”

17. “I caught hbv on holiday 6 years ago, why was I never referred? I had no idea it can kill people.”

18. “I have just opened my results letter and found I have hbv , I have another one for my husband I cannot open, am I going to die?”

19. “Hi, I am travelling tomorrow where do I get the HBV vaccination?”

20. “I returned from aid work in the Sudan to discover I had contracted HBV, why was I not vaccinated by my GP?”

21. “I do business in China and seem to have caught HBV there, why was I not vaccinated?”

22. “I have spent 8 months in Thailand and have come back with HBV.”

23. “I have had a tetanus shot for a cut in the Philippines and come back with HBV.”

 24. “I got HBV having my baby in Pakistan from the clinic and gave it to my hubby, both chronic!”ew Paragraph
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