Hepatitis A is still a common disease in some developing countries, particularly where sanitation is poor and drinking water is untreated and unsafe. If contracted, the disease can incubate for as long as 3 – 5 weeks before any symptoms emerge.
It tends to be contracted by eating and drinking contaminated food or water, but can also be picked up from close physical contact with someone who is infected. Children tend to experience milder symptoms than adults, so can unwittingly pass it to others.
You can prevent your chances of catching Hepatitis A by having a pre-travel vaccination and ensuring the food and water you have whilst travelling is considered ‘safe’ for human consumption.
Typhoid is still a common disease in countries where sanitation is poor, and there is no suitable sewage system. It is contracted through consumption of faecally contaminated food and water, so is predominantly found in areas where food preparation and hygiene is lacking. It is also possible to contract typhoid from eating shellfish or raw fruit and vegetables if they have been grown in what is referred to as ‘night soil’ (human waste).
If contracted, typhoid sufferers develop a fever as long as 1-3 weeks after initial infection. Left untreated, it can spread through the gut wall – leading to a much more serious infection. Typhoid is easily spread as bacteria can remain in the gut even after symptoms subside, meaning carriers may be unaware they are still contagious.
To prevent contracting typhoid, arrange for a pre-travel vaccination and ensure you eat and drink healthily whilst abroad.
For more information on Hepatitis A + Typhoid and vaccines required for specific countries please visit http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx