Questions and Answers Hepatitis B

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Questions and Answers Hepatitis B
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What causes hepatitis B? Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis …. at least one dose of hepatitis B vaccine in the United. States. …

Hepatitis B: Questions and Answers
Information about the disease and vaccines
What causes hepatitis B? Do people fully recover?

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
How does HBV spread?

HBV is found in the blood or certain body fluids. The virus is spread when blood or body fluid from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. This can occur in a variety of ways including: · Unprotected sexual contact · Sharing drugs, needles, or "works" when using drugs · Tattooing and body piercing · Poor infection control practices in medical settings · Needle sticks or sharps exposures on the job · From mother to baby during birth · Contact with wounds or skin sores · When an infected person bites another person · Pre-chewing food for babies · Sharing personal-care items, such as razors or toothbrushes HBV particles can be found on objects, even in the absence of visible blood. The virus can remain infectious and capable of spreading infection for at least seven days outside the human body. HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, hugging, kissing, coughing, and sneezing or by casual contact, such as in an office or factory setting.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?

Most people who get infected as adults will fully recover. However, about 4 of 100 people will remain infectious and carry HBV in their bodies for life. This is called chronic infection. People with chronic HBV infection should not be excluded from work, school, play, childcare, or other settings. The majority of people with chronic HBV infection feel healthy and do not develop serious problems related to the infection; however, about 25% will develop cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure, and liver cancer later in life.
How serious is infection with HBV?

Hepatitis B can be very serious. Infection with HBV can cause life-long (chronic) infection that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Many people in the United States die every year from hepatitis B-related liver disease. Fortunately, there is a vaccine to prevent this disease.
How common is hepatitis B in the United States?

In 2007, 4,519 cases of acute hepatitis B were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); however, the actual number of new infections is estimated by the agency to be about tenfold higher. According to CDC, an estimated 0.8 to 1.4 million people have chronic HBV infection in the United States. Since the introduction of routine vaccination against HBV there has been a significant decline in U.S. cases , among children and adolescents, the group with the largest increase in hepatitis B vaccination coverage. However, chronic HBV infection remains a major problem. Many of the 1 million people chronically infected with HBV do not know they are infected. Most cases of chronic HBV infection in the United States are found in immigrants or refugees from Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and Eastern Europe. People from these areas of the world should be tested to find out if they are chronically infected. Worldwide, approximately 350 million people are chronically infected with HBV and approximately 1 million of these people die each year from cirrhosis leading to liver failure or liver cancer.
How does a person know if s/he has HBV infection?

About 7 out of 10 adults who become infected with HBV develop symptoms. Children under age 5 years rarely have symptoms. When people have symptoms, they usually appear between 45 and 160 days after onset of infection. People who have symptoms generally feel quite ill and might need to be hospitalized. Symptoms of hepatitis B might include the following: · Yellowing of skin and whites of eyes · Dark-colored urine · Loss of appetite or nausea · Bloated and tender belly · Extreme tiredness · Fever · Pain in joints

Only blood tests can tell whether or not a person Page 1 of 3
www.vaccineinformation.org/catg.d/p4205.pdf · Item #P4205 (10/10)

Immunization Action Coalition · St. Paul, MN 55104 · (651) 647-9009 · www.vaccineinformation.org · www.immunize.org



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