How Is Hepatitis B Prevented
Testing & Vaccination
- The hepatitis B vaccine offers excellent protection against HBV. The vaccine is safe and highly effective. Vaccination consists of 3 doses of vaccine over the course of 6 months. Protection lasts for 20 years to life.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children should receive hepatitis B vaccine starting at birth. .
- The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccine for persons traveling to countries where HBV is common .
- If you have one or more risk factors for hepatitis B infection, you should get a simple HBV blood test. The blood test will determine whether you are:
- immune to hepatitis B or
- susceptible to hepatitis B and need vaccination or
- infected with hepatitis B and need further evaluation by a physician
- California law requires testing of all pregnant women for hepatitis B infection
- If the mother is HBV-infected, she will pass the infection to the baby during the birth process, unless the baby gets immunized within hours of birth
- Giving the infant HBIG and HBV vaccine right away will reliably prevent infection of the infant
- Other family members should best tested for hepatitis B too, and given vaccine if they are not already infected or immune
After Exposure to Hepatitis B
Hep B Cannot Be Spread By Sneezing
Despite many claims that this particular virus can be airborne, the reality is that Hepatitis B is not spread by casual contact such as from the air, hugging, touching, sneezing, coughing, toilet seats, or doorknobs, according to KnowYo.org.
The site goes on to say that you also cant get Hep B from eating food prepared by someone with the virus, nor can you get it from a mosquito bite. There are also fears that the vaccine itself can cause the virus: this is false, according to the source.
Symptoms And Disease Progression
The majority of adults with hepatitis B have no symptoms, and infection is often only diagnosed by routine blood tests and monitoring the health of the liver. Among people living with HIV, routine liver function monitoring sometimes shows elevated liver enzymes, which can be a sign of liver inflammation due to hepatitis B.
Some people develop symptoms soon after hepatitis B infection, known as the acute phase. These can include the following:
- pain in the upper abdomen or belly
- muscle or joint aches
- feeling generally unwell
- yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes .
A minority of people may develop severe symptoms during acute hepatitis B infection, and in rare cases it can lead to death.
After the acute stage , many people with chronic hepatitis B have few or no symptoms. Others may experience ongoing symptoms including fatigue and feeling unwell. Even if you have no symptoms, you can still pass on hepatitis B to others.
With or without symptoms, chronic hepatitis B infection can lead to serious liver disease over years or decades, including fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is really contagious. Its transmitted through contact with semen , vaginal fluids, and blood. You can get it from:
having vaginal, anal, or oral sex
sharing toothbrushes and razors
sharing needles for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
getting stuck with a needle that has the Hep B virus on it.
Hepatitis B can also be passed to babies during birth if their mother has it.
Hepatitis B isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get hepatitis B from sharing food or drinks or using the same fork or spoon. Hepatitis B is also not spread through kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding.
How Do Medical Professionals Diagnose Hepatitis B
Infection with hepatitis B is suspected when the medical history and the physical examination reveal risk factors for the infection or symptoms and signs that are suggestive of hepatitis B. Abnormalities in the liver tests also can raise suspicion however, abnormal liver tests can result from many conditions that affect the liver. The diagnosis of hepatitis B can be made only with specific hepatitis B virus blood tests. These tests are known as hepatitis “markers” or “serologies.”
HBsAg and anti-HBs
The presence of hepatitis B surface antigen in the blood indicates that the patient is currently infected with the virus. HBsAg appears an average of four weeks after initial exposure to the virus. Individuals who recover from acute hepatitis B infections clear the blood of HBsAg within approximately four months after the onset of symptoms. These individuals develop antibodies to HBsAg . Anti-HBs provides complete immunity to subsequent hepatitis B viral infection. Similarly, individuals who are successfully vaccinated against hepatitis B produce anti-HBs in the blood.
Patients who fail to clear the virus during an acute episode develop chronic hepatitis B. The diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B is made when the HBsAg is present in the blood for at least six months. In chronic hepatitis B, HBsAg can be detected for many years, and anti-HBs does not appear.
HBeAg, anti-HBe, and pre-core mutations
Hepatitis B virus DNA
How are the hepatitis B blood tests interpreted?
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How Does Hbv Spread From Person To Person
HBV is spread through contact with the blood, semen, or other body fluid of a person who has HBV. Among adults in the United States, HBV is spread mainly through sexual contact.
HBV can also spread from person to person in the following ways:
- From contact with the blood or open sores of a person who has HBV
- From an accidental prick or cut from an HBV-contaminated needle or other sharp object
- From a mother who has HBV to her child during childbirth
Treatments For Hepatitis B
Treatment for hepatitis B depends on how long you have been infected for.
If you have been exposed to the virus in the past few days, emergency treatment can help stop you becoming infected.
If you have only had the infection for a few weeks or months , you may only need treatment to relieve your symptoms while your body fights off the infection.
If you have had the infection for more than 6 months , you may be offered treatment with medicines that can keep the virus under control and reduce the risk of liver damage.
Chronic hepatitis B often requires long-term or lifelong treatment and regular monitoring to check for any further liver problems.
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What Occupations Have Increased Risk Of Hepatitis B
In general, occupational groups with increased risk include:
- Health-care workers repeatedly exposed to blood or blood products or those who are at risk of needlestick injury.
- Pathologists, laboratory personnel, or embalmers.
- Dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists.
- Certain staff members of institutions for the developmentally handicapped.
- Staff of institutions where workers may be exposed to aggressive, biting residents.
Travellers to regions with intermediate or high rates of endemic HBV infection may also consider being vaccinated.
Can Hbv Infection Be Prevented
Yes. The best way to prevent HBV is to get the hepatitis B vaccine.
CDC recommends that people with HIV and people who are at risk for HIV get the HBV vaccine . The housemates and sexual partners of people with HBV should get the HBV vaccine, too.
People, including people with HIV, can also take the following steps to reduce their risk of HBV infection:
- Use condoms during sex to reduce the risk of HBV infection and infection with other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis.
- Do not inject drugs. But if you do, do not share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment.
- Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or other personal items that may come in contact with another person’s blood.
- If you get a tattoo or body piercing, make sure the instruments used are sterile.
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Hiv And Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Coinfection
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by a virus. Because these infections can be spread in the same ways as HIV, people with HIV in the United States are often also affected by chronic viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems among people with HIV than among those who do not have HIV. Liver disease, much of which is related to HBV or HCV, is a major cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people with HIV.
Given the risks of hepatitis B or hepatitis C coinfection to the health of people living with HIV, it is important to understand these risks, take steps to prevent infection, know your status, and, if necessary, get medical care from someone who is experienced in treating people who are coinfected with HIV and HBV, or HIV and HCV.
How Can You Prevent Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B: Vaccination is the best way to prevent all of the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it. In addition to the 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine given over 6 months, as of 2017, there is a 2-dose series given over 1 month.
Hepatitis C: No vaccine exists for HCV and no effective pre- or postexposure prophylaxis is available. The best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to never inject drugs or to stop injecting drugs by getting into and staying in drug treatment. If you continue injecting drugs, always use new, sterile needles or syringes, and never reuse or share needles or syringes, water, or other drug preparation equipment.
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Hepatitis C Now Killing More Americans Than Hiv
The number of people who die from HIV-related causes each year in the U.S. is now down to about 12,700 from a peak of more than 50,000 in the mid-1990s thanks to condom education and distribution campaigns, increased testing and improved treatments. But now a different infectious disease is quietly killing even more people than HIV is: Hepatitis C.
The majority of the 3.2 million people who are estimated to have chronic hepatitis C virus in the U.S. are baby boomer adults.
And most of those infected with the virus do not know that they have it, which means they could easily be spreading it to others via exposure to blood or, occasionally, sexual contact.
Although long-term intravenous drug users are at particular risk, so are those who experimented with drugs for a limited time in their youth, Harvey Alter and T. Jake Liang, both of the National Institutes of Health, wrote in an essay published online Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine. These bygone experiences do not often connote risk to the affected persons nor serve as a reason to seek testing, they noted, making this slow-developing disease difficult to catch before it develops into cirrhosis or liver cancer . Their essay was part of a four-paper special series on hepatitis C.
Outlook For Hepatitis B
The vast majority of people infected with hepatitis B in adulthood are able to fight off the virus and fully recover within 1 to 3 months.
Most will then be immune to the infection for life.
Babies and children with hepatitis B are more likely to develop a chronic infection.
Chronic hepatitis B affects around:
- 90% of babies with hepatitis B
- 20% of older children with hepatitis B
- 5% of adults with hepatitis B
Page last reviewed: 30 January 2019 Next review due: 30 January 2022
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I Am A Healthcare Worker Who Did Not Develop Hepatitis B Antibodies After Immunization What Should I Do
Not everyone responds to the hepatitis B vaccine. In fact, in a group of adults younger than 40 years of age who have received two doses of the vaccine only 75 of 100 will be protected. Following the third dose, this number will increase to 90 of 100. However, people older than 40 years of age will be less likely to respond to the vaccine with increasing age.
Even if people do not respond to three doses, it does not mean that they are at high risk for hepatitis B. Because hepatitis B is transmitted primarily through blood and body fluids, using safety precautions while working will help decrease the chance of exposure to the disease. It is also possible that the immune response was not great enough to be measured by the laboratory test, but would still provide some level of protection upon exposure to hepatitis B. The CDC recommends getting the three-dose series again if an immune response is not generated following the first series.
About 5-10 of every 100 children and adults younger than 40 years of age do not respond to the third dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. Some of these people will be recommended to get the series of three doses again. About 5 of 100 people will still not respond after six doses. If these people are determined not to have chronic hepatitis B, they will be reliant on taking precautions to reduce the chance of exposure and relying on those around them for protection. In other words, these people will be reliant on herd immunity.
Risk To Healthcare Workers
Contaminated sharps exposure in UK healthcare work is confirmed by Health Protection Agency as the most common mode of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses, though transmission rates remain low, as a proportion of reported incidents.
The overall risks of the three most common blood-borne viruses being transmitted by an infected patient to a healthcare worker have been estimated, as shown in the table below. Hepatitis B is the most readily transmitted virus and human immunodeficiency virus the least. Healthcare workers are at greater risk of infection from patients than vice-versa. The UK rates of transmission may appear to be higher than in other countries. This is probably as a result of the more active approach to surveillance and the identification of such cases taken in the UK.
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Subject Inclusion And Data Collection
During each structure/half day visit, a number of DUs corresponding to the calculated sample size were asked to participate and included if they consented to the interview and self fingerprick blood sampling on dried blood spots for HIV and HCV testing. The questionnaire was administered over 30 to 40 minutes by professional interviewers independent of the recruitment structures.
How Hepatitis B Is Spread
The hepatitis B virus is found in the blood and bodily fluids, such as semen and vaginal fluids, of an infected person.
It can be spread:
- from a mother to her newborn baby, particularly in countries where the infection is common
- within families in countries where the infection is common
- by having sex with an infected person without using a condom
- by having a tattoo, body piercing, or medical or dental treatment in an unhygienic environment with unsterilised equipment
Hepatitis B is not spread by kissing, holding hands, hugging, coughing, sneezing or sharing crockery and utensils.
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Hepatitis: How Can I Protect Myself From Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus . The virus interferes with the functions of the liver and causes pathological damage. A small percentage of infected people cannot get rid of the virus and become chronically infected these people are at higher risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
HBV is spread by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person the same way as the human immunodeficiency virus . However, HBV is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
The main ways of getting infected with HBV are:
- from mother to baby at the birth
- from child-to-child
- unsafe injections and transfusions
- unprotected sexual contact.
Worldwide, most infections occur from mother-to-child, from child-to-child , and from reuse of unsterilized needles and syringes. Before the widespread use of the hepatitis B vaccine, almost all children in developing countries used to become infected with the virus.
Are Hepatitis B Virus Infections Easily Avoided
Large quantities of hepatitis B virus are present in the blood of people with hepatitis B in fact, as many as one billion infectious viruses can be found in a milliliter of blood from an infected individual. Therefore, hepatitis B virus is transmitted in the blood of infected individuals during activities that could result in exposure to blood, such as intravenous drug use, tattooing, or sex with people who are infected. However, it is also possible to catch hepatitis B virus through more casual contact, such as sharing washcloths, toothbrushes or razors. In each of these cases, unseen amounts of blood can contain enough viral particles to cause infection. In addition, because many people who are infected don’t know that they are infected, it is very hard to avoid the chance of getting infected with hepatitis B virus.
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Is Hepatitis B Contagious
Hepatitis B is highly contagious. It spreads through contact with infected blood and certain other bodily fluids. Although the virus can be found in saliva, its not spread through sharing utensils or kissing. It also doesnt spread through sneezing, coughing, or breastfeeding. Symptoms of hepatitis B may not appear for 3 months after exposure and can last for 212 weeks. However, you are still contagious, even
To screen for hepatitis B, your doctor will perform a series of blood tests.