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Monday, 28 June, 1999, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Combined jab launched for holidaymakers
Vaccination
Fear of injections can put some off getting travel vaccines
The world's first combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine is launched in the UK on Monday.

The jab is being welcomed by doctors as a way to improve protection from the potentially fatal diseases among people travelling abroad to areas such as southern and eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, central and south America and the Caribbean.

A recent Gallup survey found that for one in four people the thought of injections were likely to put them off having the recommended vaccinations they needed.

Nearly one in 10 travellers said they would seek travel health advice before booking and change their plans if vaccinations were recommended.

Many travellers have been deterred from taking vaccinations because of media scares about drugs such as the anti-malaria treatment Larium.

Dr Nigel Higson, chairman of the Primary Care Virology Group, said: "Travel to exotic destinations is becoming increasingly popular. In 1997, 46 million overseas visits were made by UK residents.

"Whilst fear of injectioins is to a large extent irrational, this simple new combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine is a welcome step forward, for both patients and healthcare professionals, as it simplifies the vaccination procedure."

The new combined vaccine, Hepatyrix, is marketed by SmithKline Beecham.

The vaccine provides protection for hepatitis A for patients over 15 years for a minimum of 12 months and protection against typhoid fever for up to three years.

As well as cutting out the need for two separate injections, Hepatyrix allows space for an additional vaccination so that last minute travellers can get extra shots if needed.

Contaminated food and water

Hepatitis A and typhoid are mainly contracted through ingestion of faecally contaminated food and water.

Typhoid is a disease of the intestines which, if untreated, can kill 30% of its victims.

The World Health Organisation estimates that there are about 16 million cases of typhoid fever annually in the world.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver which leads to weakness, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Up to 10 million cases of hepatitis A occur worldwide every year.

See also:

07 Apr 99 | Health
Refugee health risks grow
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