University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Hepatitis B: A cross-sectional survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices amongst backpackers in Thailand

Frew, G., McGeorge, E., Grant, Sabrina ORCID: and de Wildt, G. (2017) Hepatitis B: A cross-sectional survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices amongst backpackers in Thailand. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 15. pp. 57-62. ISSN 1477-8939

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In 2013, 200 million tourists visited countries that are endemic for hepatitis B virus (HBV). Backpackers are potentially at greater risk of hepatitis B than other travellers yet exposure to HBV remains under researched in this population.


A cross-sectional survey of backpackers visiting two islands in Thailand was performed during early 2015. Participation in activities with high HBV exposure risk was recorded, alongside rates of vaccination and an evaluation of knowledge and attitudes towards the risk of HBV.


1680 questionnaires were completed and analysed; the median participant age was 24 (range: 18–68) and 47.9% were male. 20.8% took part in activities with a high risk of HBV exposure. Over two-thirds of the sample were not protected against HBV. 24% were able to correctly identify HBV transmission methods. 44.1% underestimated the risk of HBV in Thailand.


The proportion of backpackers participating in high-risk activities was double the level found in previous studies that have examined the HBV exposure risk amongst travellers to endemic countries. Voluntary risk activities were the largest source of potential exposure to HBV and rates of vaccination are low. Backpackers should be considered for routine vaccination and education on risk behaviours should be included in the pre-travel consultation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: vaccination, cross-sectional studies, risk-taking, travel
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Nursing and Midwifery
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Depositing User: Sabrina Grant
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019 14:35
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2020 07:58

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