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Hepatitis A in France (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)

29 January 2018

French public health authoritiesLink have reported an outbreak of hepatitis A in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwest France. In 2018 there were 229 cases, eight times as many cases as were reported in 2016. Fifty-nine percent of cases were reported in the Gironde department (around Bordeaux) and the majority of cases were men.

Advice to travellers

  • Most travellers will be at low risk of hepatitis A.
  • As with all other illnesses spread by the faecal oral route, precautionary measures should be taken to avoid consumption of potentially contaminated drinks and drinking water and to ensure food is uncontaminated or cooked thoroughly.
  • Personal hygiene when eating and drinking is also important including hand washing prior to eating and using clean plates, cups and utensils.

When to consider vaccination

Vaccination should be considered under the following circumstances and is dependent on the individual risk assessment

  • Non immune travellers to developing countries are at most risk of infection.
  • Occasionally cases have occurred in travellers staying in good quality hotel accommodation but the risk is increased for:
    • those travelling to areas where they will be exposed to unsafe drinking water
    • where sanitation conditions are poor
    • travellers visiting friends and family
    • long stay travellers.
    • Men who have sex with men (MSM)

For further information see Hepatitis A.