Dr Balaji of Balaji Medical Centre, a clinic which is part of the UK P&I PEME programme, comments on the dangers of hepatitis B, the silent epidemic:
“Hepatitis B is easily preventable by vaccination and safe health practice, yet it still kills more people worldwide than HIV/AIDS. It is also the number one reason for crew failing their pre-employment medical examinations (PEME) and 9.6% of all unfit crew were found to have the disease.
“The disease is caused by a virus that infects the liver and is 50-100 times more infectious that HIV with 10-30 million individuals infected each year. The disease leads to life-long infection, cirrhosis, hepatato-cellular carcinoma and liver failure with a million people dying each year from hepatitis B and its complications with most people not having symptoms until it is too late. The main symptoms are fatigue, abdominal pain, and jaundice (yellow colouration of the skin).
“Circumstances that put individuals at risk of contracting the disease include unsterile medical equipment, handling clinical waste, intravenous drug abuse and sexual contact. In order to prevent crew from contracting the disease there are highly effective recombinant vaccines available. It is not a mandatory requirement to have received a vaccine to work onboard, although it is highly advisable. Additional preventative measures include the screening of blood donors and safe sex using barrier methods.
For further details, please contact:
Gareth David / Carolyn Monchouguy / Ed Hooper / Helen Cotton
+44 20 3697 4200
Notes to editors:
UK P&I Club
The UK P&I Club is a leading provider of P&I insurance and other services to the international shipping community. Established in 1865 the UK P&I Club insures over 225 million tonnes of owned and chartered shipping through its international offices and claims network. ‘A (Stable)’ rated by Standard & Poor’s with free reserves and hybrid capital of $559m the UK P&I Club is renowned for its specialist skills and expertise which ensure ‘best in class’ underwriting, claims handling and loss prevention services.
The UK P&I Club is managed by Thomas Miller, an independent and international insurance, professional and investment services provider.
Thomas Miller is an independent and international provider of insurance, professional and investment services.
Founded in 1885, Thomas Miller’s origins are in the provision of management services to mutual organisations, particularly in the international transport and professional indemnity sectors; where today they manage a large percentage of the foremost insurance mutuals. Thomas Miller also manages insurance facilities for all the self-employed barristers in England & Wales, as well as trustees of pension schemes, patent agents and housing associations.
Principal activities include: