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Hepatitis B in Bhutan

02 Oct 2012

An increasing number of hepatitis B cases in Bhutan has been reported by the media. Bhutan has a population of just over 650 000 and in 2011, 744 cases of hepatitis B were recorded. Health officials put the increase in number down to an increase in test centres and a higher detection rate.

An immunisation campaign was introduced in Bhutan in 1997, when the high incidence of the infection was identified. As the main transmission route of the virus was considered to be from mother to child, hepatitis B vaccine became part of the national childhood schedule of Bhutan.

Advice for Travellers

Hepatitis B is spread through blood, blood products and sexual intercourse. Potential for spread through contaminated instruments during medical and dental procedures, acupuncture, body piercing procedures, and sharing IV needles. Carriage of the virus in the local population in this country is considered to be intermediate (2-8%).

Vaccination against hepatitis B is available for travellers considered to be at increased risk of infection.