Hepatitis A is a preventable infection that impacts more than 600 new Australians each year.
While incidences have been falling since 2000 due to increased childhood vaccination, working-age adults may still be at risk.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral liver infection. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Many consumers have contracted Hepatitis A through frozen foods imported into Australia from nations with less stringent hygiene protocols, meaning exposure can occur outside the workplace, and most people have no idea they may be affected.
The University of NSW advises that up to half of all Australians are susceptible to Hepatitis A.
Importantly for workers, the Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended by the Department of Health for those specifically at risk of infection.
Groups with higher than normal workplace risk of becoming infected with Hepatitis A risk include (but are not limited to)
- Healthcare workers - notably in paedriatrics, emergency and infectious diseases, and those working with human tissue, blood or body fluids;
- Child care workers and teachers;
- Emergency services - police, fire and ambulance, and correctional services workers;
- Plumbers and other trades, and those working with waste or water infrastructure; and
- Cleaning, refuse and recycling workers.
Hepatitis A vaccinations can be given on their own, or as part of a combined program with Hepatitis B.
Immunise your team against this infection by booking a vaccination clinic today.