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Hepatitis A in the European Union and Morocco.

21 May 2018

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)Link reports a small but widespread outbreak of hepatitis A in Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Forty-two confirmed cases were infected with one of two strains of Hepatitis A virus previously identified in Morocco. However, only 3 of these cases had a history of travel to Morocco. The rest are considered to have been infected at home.

A further 50 travel-related possible cases of hepatitis A with history of travel to Morocco are also reported. 

No source of infection has been identified.

Recommendations for Travellers

Hepatitis A is spread by the faecal-oral route and most travellers to affected areas of Europe will be at low risk of infection.

Vaccination is recommended for most non-immune travellers to Morocco.

Prevention is focused on food and water precautions and practising meticulous hand and personal hygiene to reduce the risk of hepatitis A infection. Detailed risk management advice can be found via following links:

Vaccination is recommended if you are visiting areas where drinking water may be unsafe and where hygiene and sanitation is poor. Men who have sex with men are at higher risk of hepatitis A infection. There are various brands of hepatitis A vaccine available: Avaxim, Havrix Monodose, Havrix Junior Monodose and Vaqta Paediatric.

Hepatitis A vaccine is also available in a preparation that combines it with hepatitis B vaccine: Ambirix, Twinrix and Twinrix Paediatric and a preparation that combines it with typhoid vaccine: Hepatyrix and ViATIM.

For further information see Hepatitis A.