Hepatitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the liver and can present symptoms such as fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and yellow eyes or skin. The hepatitis A virus can be spread by ingesting the virus from contact with objects, foods, or drinks that are contaminated by the feces or stool from an infected person. There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A, and some people need to be hospitalized. Hepatitis B virus is spread by contact with infected bodily fluids and can eventually cause liver damage, liver cancer, or death.
There are three vaccines used to help prevent hepatitis A and B:
Havrix® hepatitis A vaccine requires two shots given six months apart. People who are traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common are advised to get this vaccine.
Engerix-B® hepatitis B vaccine is normally given as a series of three shots. The second shot is one month after the first shot, and the third is six months after the first. It is recommended for people who are at risk for catching it, such as healthcare workers or people who have weak immune systems.
Twinrix® is a vaccine for both hepatitis A and B that is usually given on the same schedule as Engerix-B®.