Hepatitis B vaccination for international travelers to Asia
Poovorawan K., Soonthornworasiri N., Sa-angchai P., Mansanguan C., Piyaphanee W.
There is a wide range in prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and HBV immunization programs between different regions. Hepatitis B is a vaccine preventable disease yet is still endemic in the majority of countries in Asia. Despite the decreasing global prevalence of chronic HBV infection, there is still considerable risk of HBV infection among international travelers to high endemic areas. Numbers of international travelers are expected to increase year by year; thus immunization among this cohort is a crucial preventive measure. Among international travelers to Asia, HBV immunization should be recommended for those without previous HBV vaccination who plan to travel to countries with intermediate to high prevalence of HBV, and especially for those individuals at greater risk of HBV infection; including travelers engaging in casual sex, getting a tattoo or piercing, and those having dental surgery or other medical procedures. Longer duration of travel is also associated with a greater risk of HBV infection. Travelers from low HBV prevalence countries, especially those born before implementation of universal HBV vaccination, might benefit from HBV vaccination during long-term traveling to HBV intermediate to high endemic country.