Hepatitis B is a viral liver disease acquired through contact with contaminated blood or other body fluids. Travelers may become infected though contaminated tools and equipment used in medical or dental procedures, or by receiving infected blood products. Engaging in activities such as tattooing, acupuncture, injection drug use and unprotected sex will also significantly increase the risk of infection. All unvaccinated travelers are recommended to receive hepatitis B vaccine even if they did not intend to engage in high risk activities. This is especially true for those who plan to travel to Asia or Africa, where hepatitis B is common.
Hepatitis B vaccine usually consists of 3 doses administered at 0, 1, and 6 months. Although the first 1 to 2 doses can provide some protection, it is highly recommended to receive the full 3-dose series to achieve optimal protection.