Welcome to the IHateTaxis.com overseas travel medical support section. These pages are intended to provide overseas travel medical guidance for your trip preparation. Travel medical Information presented here was written by a experienced travelling registered nurse and advice given is not intended to replace that of a physician. If you need additional information, please consult your local health provider.
What is Hepatitis B or "Hep B"?
Hepatitis B is a disease caused by HBV hepatitis B virus which infects the liver of hominoidae
, including humans, and causes an inflammation called hepatitis. Originally known as "serum hepatitis", the disease has caused epidemics in parts of Asia and Africa, and it is endemic in China. About a third of the world's population, more than 2 billion people, have been infected with the hepatitis B virus. This includes 350 million chronic carriers of the virus. Transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood.
The acute illness causes liver inflammation, vomiting, jaundice and—rarely—death. Chronic hepatitis B may eventually cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer—a fatal disease with very poor response to current chemotherapy. The infection is preventable by vaccination.
Hepatitis B virus is an hepadnavirus—hepa from hepatotrophic and dna because it is a DNA virus—and it has a circular genome composed of partially double-stranded DNA. The viruses replicate through an RNA intermediate form by reverse transcription, and in this respect they are similar to retroviruses. Although replication takes place in the liver, the virus spreads to the blood where virus-specific proteins and their corresponding antibodies are found in infected people. Blood tests for these proteins and antibodies are used to diagnose the infection.
General Distribution Map
The map below is from the World Health Organization and gives a general distribution of the problem. Do not make your own assessment from this map, but rather discuss the issue with your doctor prior to travel.
Written by Kim Zieman