hepatitis b

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent infection.

Acute Infections?

An acute hepatitis B infection follows an incubation period – from 60 to 150 days. Getting rid of the virus takes much longer, up to 6 months. And unfortunately, it can take up to six months for blood test results to show whether as person has recovered from an acute infection or has become chronically infected.

Symptoms?

About 30% of persons have no signs or symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • jaundice
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • joint pain
  • dark-colored urine
  • yellowish tinged skin and eyes

How long does the Hepatitis B vaccine last?

Studies indicate that the vaccine lasts for at least 20 years among healthy vaccinated individuals who received their first dose of hepatitis B vaccination when they were older than 6 months of age. The vaccine provides long-term protection against clinical illness and chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

Hepatitis B schedule for adults?

Adults over the age of 19 will need 3 does to complete the vaccine schedule.

Causes?

It is caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Hepatitis B serology chart

If your doctor suspects you have hepatitis b, they will order a hepatitis B serology chart. This results of this test will determine if you are infected with it, if you are protected it (from a vaccine), or if you are at risk of developing it.

How is it Transmitted?

Transmission occurs when blood or body fluids from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not immune.  It is most often spread by having sex with an infected person without using a condom, sharing needles or “works” when “shooting” drugs, through needle sticks or sharps exposures on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.

Risks?

Some of the risks for developing Hepatitis B are: having multiple sex partners or diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease, men who have sex with men, Sex contacts of infected persons, Injection drug use, household contacts of chronically infected persons.

Prevention?

Yes. The best prevention is having the hep B vaccine.

Is Hepatitis B curable?

Treatment will depend on the severity of the infection. All patients with chronic hep B infections (lasting more than 6 months), including children and adults, should be monitored regularly since they are at increased risk for developing cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer. Monitoring includes blood tests and possibly a liver ultrasound to evaluate the health of the liver.

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