Close
Follow all our news on Facebook!

Hepatitis A & B......beware

Not sure how many planning to come to Vietnam or those that are already here are aware of the prevalence of Hepatitis here, especially B. I lost count of how many I have known that have had cirrhosis of the liver or those that it progressed to liver cancer and death.
So....a word to the wise, if you have not received the vaccine you may want to get it. It is 95% effective to ward off contracting hepatitis.
With all the unsanitary street food conditions here, if you don't yet have it, you will most likely get it. And for planning to have a child make sure you are inoculated against it. If you are already pregnant your OB-GYN will screen you for ironic hepatitis. All infants need two shots within 12 hours of birth and a few follow up shots. But this gives them almost 100% protection.

Good advice. Thanks.

The physical exam for a work permit apparently includes Hep B (but not A) as was discussed in a recent thread. 

Vagabondone:  You seem rather versed on this.  Will being vaccinated for Hep B result in a positive test result?

Correct, Hep B is rampant in Viet Nam and people should heed this warning.

It seems half of the population is alcoholic. Look at how many quan nhau there are in Saigon.

Hmm, that's a pretty wild statement, a logical non sequitur!
Actually half the population abstains, very few women drink, there is less episodic drinking, less alcoholism, less alcohol-related illness, compared to the US for example.
Oddly more alcohol is consumed per capita (hot weather ?) so they who drink, drink more, but more responsibly and with less dependency.

just google "alcoholism vietnam statistics"

Vietnam 2010 stats
US 2010 stats

@THIGV, if you have the antibody indeed you will test positive for the surface antigen (HBsAg--this refers to the outer surface of the HEP B virus that triggers an antibody response. However, if one tests positive with an HBsAg it means you have been infected. This can either be acute or chronic. If one tests positive for the virus you would be retested in about 6 months to see if it is chronic. If chronic there is treatment ( but hard to get in VN). The treatment provides almost a 95% chance you will not get liver cancer. Hope this helps and i have explained clearly. VN is a very high risk country. And yes, restaurant employees, for the most part must be tested now. But not street vendors. Also if you have sexual contact w/ someone who has it you can get it, or any blood transfer.

Still a little to technical for a dummy like  me.   :unsure You must be a doctor or some other kind of health care professional. 

Let me set the scenario:  Teacher A has never been exposed to Hep B but gets the vaccine. (If I am not mistaken it is a round of three shots taken at some interval.)  Teacher A then travels to Vietnam and takes the physical for a work permit.  Will he/she test positive?

Thanks for being patient.   :huh:

@THIGV
  The short answer you are seeking is ....Teacher A is protected from any danger posed by Hepatitis A or B. Teacher A will test positive for the surface antigen, yes, but that is a good thing. Teacher A has no need to worry.

Thanks for bringing it down to my level.  I mean that sincerely.

No problem. Hope it was of some help. The Hep A/B vaccine is like the MMR vaccine or any inoculation to protect you from a virus. Your body see the virus as a friend and does not allow it to attack your body. That perhaps is an easier way to view it. When in doubt, get checked by a doctor. Not being protected could be devastating in this country. It is a fatal disease.

I'm in Hanoi. Where would I go to get these vaccinations? Any idea of the cost?

Thanks,
Zep--

Most in the US are already vaccinated. If you served in the military your in good shape.

Moderators: No sensitive PII has been disclosed in this message.

Type in; Family Medical Practice  ( 2981 Kim Ma Rd, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi) 

Highest standards of service I have seen (anywhere)
(read the reviews)

English speaking.  Telephone for costs.

I was in the US Army '78-80. I remember receiving some vaccinations but not sure what for. A little research shows HEP A and B were given only to certain high risk deployments.

Thanks Bazza, I will check that out.

Zep--

GaryFunk :

Most in the US are already vaccinated. If you served in the military your in good shape.

I am not too sure as many in the US as you think are vaccinated.   I entered the Army in 1969 and was definitely not vaccinated because the vaccine was not developed until the 70's and was licensed in 1981.  For people who served after 1981, perhaps.  Ref:  http://www.hhs.gov/asl/testify/t990518b.html 

The only people I know who have been vaccinated in the US are people whose sexual partners had chronic Hep B and people traveling to places like Vietnam.  I don't think the general level of vaccination is as high as you indicate.  The only figures I could find were 2004 but at that time the CDC was reporting only "34.6% of adults aged 18--49 years reported receiving hepatitis B vaccine."  Ref:  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5518a3.htm

I would say that unless you have records that you have been vaccinated, best to see about doing it.  It won't hurt to do it twice unless you are afraid of needles.

You will need to do a blood test first to ascertain that you are free of Hep B before doing the shots.

THIGV :
GaryFunk :

Most in the US are already vaccinated. If you served in the military your in good shape.

I am not too sure as many in the US as you think are vaccinated.   I entered the Army in 1969 and was definitely not vaccinated because the vaccine was not developed until the 70's and was licensed in 1981.  For people who served after 1981, perhaps.  Ref:  http://www.hhs.gov/asl/testify/t990518b.html 

The only people I know who have been vaccinated in the US are people whose sexual partners had chronic Hep B and people traveling to places like Vietnam.  I don't think the general level of vaccination is as high as you indicate.  The only figures I could find were 2004 but at that time the CDC was reporting only "34.6% of adults aged 18--49 years reported receiving hepatitis B vaccine."  Ref:  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5518a3.htm

I would say that unless you have records that you have been vaccinated, best to see about doing it.  It won't hurt to do it twice unless you are afraid of needles.

Very interesting and thank you for the detailed post.  Having just had a checkup July 8th, I discussed my upcoming trip with my PC and send went over my shot records. And now,  I just went through all my military and VA records. Of course I find everything but Hep B. I found a notation of Hep A+ but I'm not sure what that means AND I only see one shot.

The good news is I'm vaccinated against smallpox,  yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, plague and half a dozen other bugs. I'm calling my PC in the morning and making sure inhavd the proper vaccinations .

Moderators: No PII has been disclosed in this message.

8THIGV

I want to thank you again for your information. I called and checked my medical with Army and VA and there is no record that I have had the Hep A-B vaccine.

I waiting on a call now to come in to the Golden VA clinic for a test and to receive the first of thee vaccines. I may even ask for a tetanus booster.

Thank you again. And I am very afraid of needles. Smile

Moderators: No sensitive PII has been disclosed in this message.

colinoscapee :

You will need to do a blood test first to ascertain that you are free of Hep B before doing the shots.

This may be a good idea but may not be an absolute necessity.   These two sources cover the issue:  http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2110.pdf    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5516.pdf

The first has a matrix on the right side which shows the actions needed depending on the test results.  This worksheet recommends giving the first dose while waiting for the results so apparently there is no harm in vaccinating an infected person but also little to be gained.   Apparently there are four serological markers that must be analyzed to determine a course of action as is also indicated in the second document (p. 6.)

As far as being revaccinated,  the second document indicates that there is no harm other than cost.  One problem with testing would be that while the vaccine is believed to provide protection past 20 years, the antibodies are often no longer detectable (p. 14.)  This might mean that those who were vaccinated by the military in the 80's or 90's might have immunity but still test negative for the antibodies.  It is also difficult to establish the full immune response in people over 60.

In my case, I had the first two doses before moving to Vietnam in 2012 but did not have time to get the third before traveling.  I intend to consult with my physician as we all should.  I am also going to discuss this with my wife.  She had a round of vaccinations for immigration to the US but I am certain they did not include Hep B as it was only two days a week apart if I remember correctly.  She may have been tested though.

Undoubtedly there is a problem with Hep B here.

However Hep B is usually spread by blood, semen, or other bodily fluid.  It is NOT spread through either food or water.

Most responsible adults in their home countries should have had Hep A,B, Tetanus, Polio, BCG shots.

A probably even greater danger is HIV or Rabies. Rabies especially in the countryside.

GaryFunk :

Most in the US are already vaccinated. If you served in the military your in good shape.

Moderators: No sensitive PII has been disclosed in this message.

But, my understanding is that the Vaccination looses effectiveness over the years. Last I checked a booster shot was needed every 10 years. That was around 5 years ago.

Yes, a booster is needed....

pilotadamp :

Yes, a booster is needed....

@ pilotadamp > Can you please support your information with some reliable facts or by mentioning the source of these information? This will help members to verify.  :)

I found these websites, maybe it can help people who are wondering about Hepatitis A & B :

- http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/hbvfaq.htm
- http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/53/1/68.full
- http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/bfaq.htm

Thanks

Priscilla  :cheers:

Basic information available widely on the internet.

People need to use their brains and not be spoon fed; any person with an ounce of commonsense would look at their respecitve government sites for infornation BEFORE travelling:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hepatitis- … auses.aspx

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Vietnam

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Vietnam

Moving to Vietnam

Find tips from professionals about moving to Vietnam

Travel insurance in Vietnam

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Vietnam

Flights to Vietnam

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Vietnam