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Hepatitis B | That's what we need to know

Hepatitis B. It is an infectious disease caused by liver damage With hepatitis B virus (HBV).  It is one of the major global health problems. It can cause both acute and chronic infection that increases the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Most adults with hepatitis B recover completely, even if their signs and symptoms are severe. Infants and children are more likely to develop chronic (prolonged) hepatitis B infection.

The vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, but it is impossible to cure. If you are infected, taking some precautions can help prevent the virus from spreading.

Acute and chronic hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B infection can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic).

Acute hepatitis B. The infection lasts for less than six months. Your immune system can destroy the hepatitis B virus, so you may be able to fully recover in a few months. Most people who become infected with hepatitis B in adulthood have an acute infection, although sometimes an acute infection can turn into a chronic one.

Chronic hepatitis B. The infection lasts for six months or more. It lasts because your immune system cannot fight the infection. Chronic hepatitis B can persist throughout life and lead to serious diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The younger you become infected with hepatitis B (especially in infancy or younger than 5 years) - the higher the risk of chronic infection. Chronic infection can go unnoticed for decades, until a person becomes seriously ill with liver disease.

Ways of transmitting hepatitis B

The virus is transmitted from person to person Through blood, semen or other body fluids. It is not spread by wheezing or coughing.

Ways of spreading HBV are:

Sexual contact. You can become infected with hepatitis B if you have unprotected sex with an infected person. You become infected if human blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions get into your body.

Sharing needles. HBV is easily spread through infected needles and syringes contaminated with blood.

Transfer from mother to child. Pregnant women infected with HBV can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth. However, it is possible to vaccinate a newborn so that he or she does not become infected. Talk to your doctor about getting tested for hepatitis B if you are pregnant or want to get pregnant.

Risk factors

The risk of hepatitis B infection increases if:

  • Have / have had unprotected sex with multiple partners or someone who is HBV infected;
  • Inject needles while taking the drug intravenously;
  • Are you a bisexual or homosexual man;
  • Do you live with a person who has a chronic HBV infection;
  • When you gave birth to you, your mother was infected with hepatitis B;
  • Are you a healthcare worker who has come into contact with infected blood (infected needle skin damage);
  • Travel to regions with high rates of HBV infection, such as Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
  • You have had to undergo hemodialysis for treatment for a long time;
  • Do you have diabetes, hepatitis C or HIV / AIDS?

B Symptoms of hepatitis

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B vary from mild to severe. They usually appear about 1-4 months after infection. Some people, especially young children, may have no symptoms at all.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B may include:

  • Stomach-ache
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Pain in the joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Jaundice

If you have chronic hepatitis B, you may not have symptoms until complications develop. This can happen decades after your infection. This is why hepatitis B screening is so important, even if you have no symptoms.


Chronic hepatitis B can cause:

  • Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. This complicates liver function and can eventually lead to liver failure.
  • Liver cancer. If you have chronic hepatitis B, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound examination of the liver to determine if there are any signs of liver cancer on the face.
  • Liver failure. At this time your liver can no longer function. Liver failure develops only in severe cases of chronic hepatitis B.
  • Kidney disease. Researchers have found that people with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B may be more likely to have certain types of kidney disease.
  • Vascular problems (Eg vasculitis)

Hepatitis B and pregnancy

If you are pregnant, the virus may be transmitted to your baby during childbirth. It is unlikely that this will happen during your pregnancy.

If a child gets the virus and is not treated properly, he or she may have liver problems for a long time. All newborns who have a hepatitis B-infected mother should receive hepatitis B immunoglobulin and hepatitis B vaccine at birth and during the first year of life.


  • Blood tests (Determination of hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) and its antibodies and anti-Cor antigen (HBcAg) antibodies; detection of hepatitis B DNA, etc.) Blood tests can detect signs of hepatitis B virus in your body. If a chronic process. A simple blood test can also determine if you are immune to this condition.
  • Ultrasound examination of the liver.
  • Liver biopsy. Your doctor may remove a small sample of your liver for testing (liver biopsy) to check the quality of the liver damage.


Treatment of acute hepatitis B.

In the case of short-term, acute hepatitis B, you may not need treatment. Instead, your doctor may recommend rest, proper nutrition, and plenty of fluids before your body fights infection. In severe cases, antiviral drugs or hospitalization are needed to prevent complications.

Treatment of chronic hepatitis B.

Most people diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B need treatment for the rest of their lives. Treatment helps reduce the risk of liver disease and prevents the spread of infection. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B may include:

  • Antiviral medications
  • Interferon injections
  • Liver transplantation

Contact your doctor for detailed information about treatment.



For prevention, the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all of the following:

  • Newborns;
  • Children and adolescents who are not vaccinated at birth;
  • Who works or lives in a disability center;
  • People living with a person with hepatitis B;
  • Health care workers, ambulance workers and other people in contact with blood;
  • All those who have a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV;
  • Homosexual and bisexual men;
  • People who have multiple sexual partners;
  • Partners of a person with hepatitis B;
  • People who inject illicit drugs or share needles and syringes;
  • People with chronic liver disease;
  • People with late-stage kidney disease;
  • People who plan to travel to a country with a high rate of hepatitis B infection;

Awareness of any HBV status of any sexual partner. Do not engage in unprotected sex unless you are sure that your partner is not infected with HBV or another sexually transmitted infection.

Safe sexual contact. Use a new latex condom every time you have sex if you do not have information about your partner's health. Remember that while condoms reduce the risk of contracting HBV, they do not rule out infection.

Abstinence from illegal drugs

Be careful when piercing and tattooing


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