A 34-year-old Israeli has been hospitalized in Haifa with a hepatitis A liver infection after visiting Turkey, the Health Ministry announced Wednesday. The disease, which can be transferred from one person to another via direct contact, can cause weakness and liver damage and even be fatal. There is no effective treatment, but most victims recover on their own. Infection should be prevented by carefully washing hands and getting a vaccination before visiting countries where it is endemic.
The hospitalized man was in Anatolia for a month and did not get a hepatitis A shot before he left. The ministry advises that tourists to Turkey do go to get vaccinated at least two weeks before their department to relevant countries. The endemic countries include those in Asia, Africa and South America, in addition to Turkey.
Last year there were 155 reported cases of the disease, more than the 87 cases in 2006 and 136 cases in 2005.