Recommendations for Prevention of Hepatitis A Based on a Cost‐Effectiveness Analysis

Guy Tormans, Pierre Van Damme*, Eddy Van Doorslaer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background. Hepatitis A viral infection poses a substantial risk for travelers from low‐endemic countries visiting high‐endemic destinations. In this study, the general indications for the optimal prevention of hepatitis A are derived using a cost‐effectiveness analysis based on the risk exposure determined by frequency and duration of travel as well as natural immunity. Methods. Three possible hepatitis A prevention strategies are compared to no prophylaxis: active immunization; an initial screening for HAV followed by active immunization of susceptible travelers; and passive immunization with immune globulins. Using a number of baseline assumptions, a scenario for travel from low‐ to high‐endemic countries and an average travel duration and frequency rate, threshold values were obtained comparing active versus passive immunization. Results. The study shows that, for travelers not expected to journey more than twice in a 10‐year period, passive immunization is the most cost‐effective prophylaxis for travel from both very‐low or low‐to‐high endemic areas. For more frequent travel, vaccination is more cost effective, as well as for journeys of 6‐months' duration or longer. As well, pretravel screening before vaccination was shown to be worthwhile, except when the probability of natural immunity is low. Conclusions. As the results indicate, the cost effectiveness of a strategy is related to several considerations: the prices of vaccine and screening tests, travel destinations and endemic conditions, frequency and duration of travel, and natural immunity. A decision‐tree‐based simulation model is helpful in determining the strategy to employ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2006


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