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How Do Contract Hepatitis B

Other Body Fluids And Tissues

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Synovial fluid , amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, and peritoneal fluid can contain the hepatitis B virus, but the risk of transmission to workers is not known.

Feces, nasal secretions, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, and vomit have not been implicated in the spread of hepatitis B. Unless they are visibly contaminated with blood, the risk of contracting hepatitis B from these fluids in the workplace is very low.

Hepatitis B is not transmitted by casual contact. For example, hospital employees who have no contact with blood, blood products, or blood-contaminated fluids are at no greater risk than the general public. However, the virus can spread through intimate contact with carriers in a household setting, possibly because of frequent physical contact with small cuts or skin rashes. The virus can also spread through biting and possibly by the sharing of toothbrushes or razors. It is not spread through sneezing, coughing, hand holding, hugging, kissing, breastfeeding, sharing eating utensils, water or food.

Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Test

A hepatitis B surface antigen test shows if you have an active infection. A positive result means you have hepatitis B and can transmit the virus to others. A negative result means you dont currently have hepatitis B.

This test doesnt distinguish between chronic and acute infection. This test is used together with other hepatitis B tests to determine the state of a hepatitis B infection.

What Are The Risk Factors For Hepatitis B And C

Hepatitis B: Although most commonly acquired early in life, adults can also contract it. Hepatitis B is largely transmitted through bodily fluids. It can be passed at birth from a hepatitis B-infected mother or through exposure in early childhood to body fluids, blood or contaminated medical instruments. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted through intranasal and injection drug use as well as infected tools used during tattooing and body piercing.

Hepatitis C: The key risk factors are also intranasal and injection drug use, tattoos and body piercings, high-risk sexual contact, blood transfusions before 1992 and organ transplantation.

Another key risk factor for hepatitis C is being born from 1945 to 1965, during the baby-boom years. Eighty percent of all people who currently have hepatitis C in the United States were born in that timeframe.

Although the reasons that baby boomers are more likely to have hepatitis C than others arent entirely understood, its believed that most were infected in the 1970s and 1980s, when rates of hepatitis C were at their peak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all U.S. adults born from 1945 to 1965 undergo a one-time screening test for hepatitis C. Connecticut is one of several states that has written this recommendation into law. In Connecticut ,the law requires that primary care clinicians screen all adults born within those years.

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Causes Of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood that contains the hepatitis B virus. If infected blood or body fluids enter another persons bloodstream, that person may become infected.

The time from exposure to the hepatitis B virus to the appearance of the illness is 45 to 180 days.

Risky activities that can cause infection include:

  • Sharing unsterile or unclean equipment for injecting drugs.
  • Piercing the skin with equipment that is not properly cleaned, disinfected and sterilised.
  • Sharing razor blades or toothbrushes.
  • Coming into contact with infected blood through open cuts or the mucous membranes of another person.
  • Having unprotected sex , especially if there is blood present.

Mothers who have hepatitis B can pass the virus to their babies or children at the time of birth or after birth. If the newborn baby is quickly immunised with 2 vaccines, they can be protected from getting hepatitis B.

All blood and blood products produced for medical purposes in Australia are carefully screened for hepatitis B and other blood-borne viruses. The risk of getting infected with hepatitis B from a blood transfusion is extremely low .

What If I Am Pregnant

Hepatitis Resources

It’s recommended that all pregnant women have a blood test for hepatitis B in early pregnancy.

If you have hepatitis B and are pregnant, treatments can reduce the risk of transmission of hepatitis B to the baby.

If you have hepatitis B, it is important to protect others from infection.

Important ways to prevent the spread of hepatitis B include:

  • vaccination of all your close contacts
  • practise safe sex until your sexual contacts are fully vaccinated and immune
  • do not donate blood, organs or body tissue
  • do not allow your blood to contact another person
  • inform healthcare workers
  • if your work involves potential for your blood or other body fluid to spread to other people, discuss your situation with your doctor

The hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective in protecting against hepatitis B infection, providing protection in 95 in 100 vaccinated people.

In Australia, hepatitis B vaccination is part of the standard immunisation schedule for all newborn babies and infants. It’s also recommended for adults who are at high risk of exposure, people who are immunosuppressed or have other liver disease. People in these risk groups should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. Talk to your doctor about your level of risk and whether hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for you.

If you werent vaccinated against hepatitis B as a child, or if youre not sure whether you are vaccinated, talk to your doctor about whether you need a catch-up vaccine.

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Hepatitis B During Pregnancy

If a woman with HBV becomes pregnant, they may transmit the virus to their baby. Women should inform the doctor who delivers their baby that they have HBV.

The infant should receive an HBV vaccine and HBIG with 1224 hours of birth. This significantly reduces the risk that they will develop HBV.

The HBV vaccine is safe to receive while pregnant.

People with a high risk of HBV include:

  • the infants of mothers with HBV
  • the sexual partners of people with HBV
  • people who engage in sexual intercourse without contraception and those who have multiple sexual partners
  • men who have sex with men
  • people who inject illicit drugs
  • those who share a household with a person who has a chronic HBV infection
  • healthcare and public safety workers who are at risk of occupational exposure to blood or contaminated bodily fluids
  • people receiving hemodialysis, which is a type of kidney treatment
  • people taking medications that suppress the immune system, such as chemotherapy for cancer

People can prevent HBV infection by:

  • wearing appropriate protective equipment when working in healthcare settings or dealing with medical emergencies
  • not sharing needles
  • following safe sexual practices
  • cleaning any blood spills or dried blood with gloved hands using a 1:10 dilution of one part household bleach to 10 parts water

A vaccine against HBV has been available since 1982.

People who should receive this vaccine include:

How Is Hepatitis B Diagnosed

If you think you may have hepatitis B or you might have been exposed to the virus through sex or drug use, see your doctor or gynecologist to get tested. The blood test also can tell whether someone has an acute infection or a chronic infection. Let the doctor know the best way to reach you confidentially with test results.

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How Are Hepatitis B And C Diagnosed

Hepatitis B is diagnosed by a series of blood tests. The test may show an ongoing infection or antibodies that indicate that the patient is protected against hepatitis B. In patients who have a positive screening test that suggests the possibility of ongoing infection, further testing is done to determine the levels of the virus in the bloodstream.

Hepatitis C is diagnosed via a blood test called a Hepatitis C Antibody Test. A positive result means that hepatitis C antibodies are present in the blood. But a positive antibody test doesnt necessarily mean a person has hepatitis C. A further blood test is needed to confirm the diagnosis. This second blood test quantifies the amount of the virus or the viral load in the liver and the bloodstream.

What Laboratory Tests Are Available For Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B

Tests are available to detect the types of antigens used to identify the hepatitis B virus. The tests determine if the virus is present in the body tissue or blood. The amount of each type of antigen present indicates how advanced the disease is and how infective the individual has become.

Other tests are available to detect the body’s reaction to the viral infection or the body’s reaction to vaccination against the virus. These tests work by measuring the number of antibodies present in the blood.

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Groups At High Risk Of Hep B Transmission

Hep B can only be passed on through blood-to-blood contact, unprotected sex or during birth so you might be at risk of having hep B if you:

  • have moved to Australia from a country where hep B is widespread
  • were born to a mother who was hep B positive during her pregnancy
  • live or have lived with someone with hep B
  • have or have had a sexual partner who has hep B
  • have ever injected drugs or steroids
  • are in prison or have ever been in prison
  • have had blood transfusions, blood products or organ transplant in Australia before February 1990
  • are of Aboriginal ancestry
  • have had unsterile cosmetic or medical procedures.
  • have had unsterile tattooing or piercing
  • have ever taken part in unsterile traditional practices such as traditional tattooing, circumcision, initiation rituals involving blood, and scarification
  • do not meet the above profiles but have abnormal liver function tests or experience hep B symptoms

How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis B

If chronic hepatitis B leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, minor medical procedures, and surgery. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order blood tests and an ultrasound or another type of imaging test to check for liver cancer.

If chronic hepatitis B leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.

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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.

Chronic Hepatitis B Complications

Thermo Scientific Lab Vision Hepatitis B Virus Core Antigen (HBVcAg) Ab ...

Chronic hepatitis B can lead to

  • cirrhosis, a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue and prevents your liver from working normally. Scar tissue also partly blocks the flow of blood through the liver. As cirrhosis gets worse, the liver begins to fail.
  • liver failure, in which your liver is badly damaged and stops working. Liver failure is also called end-stage liver disease. People with liver failure may require a liver transplant.
  • liver cancer. Your doctor may suggest blood tests and an ultrasound or another type of imaging test to check for liver cancer. Finding cancer at an early stage improves the chance of curing the cancer.

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How Is Hepatitis B Treated

There’s no cure for HBV. Doctors will advise someone with a hepatitis B infection on how to manage symptoms like getting plenty of rest or drinking fluids. A person who is too sick to eat or drink will need treatment in a hospital.

In most cases, teens who get hepatitis B recover and may develop a natural immunity to future hepatitis B infections. Most feel better within 6 months. Health care providers will keep a close eye on patients who develop chronic hepatitis B.

How Do People Get The Hbv Virus

Hepatitis B virus is found in the blood of people with HBV infection. It enters the body through blood-to-blood contact.

Reliable blood tests for HBV were developed many years ago. Since blood donors and blood products are tested for HBV, this is no longer the typical means of infection.

In many parts of the world, hepatitis B virus infects more than 8% of the population. HBV-infected women pass the infection to their babies during the birth process. People can also get hepatitis B by sharing needles for injection drug use, through sexual contact with an infected person, by an accidental needlestick with a contaminated needle, or from improperly sterilized medical, acupuncture, piercing, or tattooing equipment.

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Enteric Routes: Transmission Of Hepatitis A And Hepatitis E

The Hepatitis A and hepatitis E viruses are both transmitted by enteric, that is digestive or by fecal, routes. This is also known as the fecal-oral route. To be exposed to these viruses, you must ingest fecal matter that is infected with the virus. While there are several ways in which this fecal-oral route can be established, poor hygiene and poor sanitary conditions in some countries lead to higher rates of infection of these viruses.

As a result, some areas of the world, like India, Bangladesh, and Central and South America, are particularly prone to the hepatitis E virus. About one-third of people in the United States have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus.

It is believed that the hepatitis F virus may also be spread by enteric routes.

How Do You Get Hepatitis B

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  • 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.

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How Can You Prevent Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C

Hepatitis B: Vaccination is the best way to prevent all the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it. The hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants, children and adults ages 19-59, as well as adults ages 60+ at high risk for infection. There is a 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine given over 6 months, and a 2-dose series given over 1 month. Additionally, there is a 2-dose combination vaccine that protects against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C: No vaccine exists for HCV and no effective pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis is available. Injection drug use is one of the risk factors for hepatitis C. For people who inject drugs, the best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to always use new, sterile needles or syringes, and never reuse or share needles or syringes, water, or other drug preparation equipment. Community-based prevention programs, such as medication-assisted treatment and syringe services programs provide support and services aimed at preventing and reducing the transmission of HCV. Although the risk of sexual transmission of HCV is considered to be low, avoiding unprotected sexual exposure by using condoms has been shown to reduce the chance of sexually transmitted infections.

What Are The Treatments For Hepatitis B

If you think you may have been exposed to hepatitis B, its important to talk with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

A doctor or other healthcare professional may administer the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine and a shot of hepatitis B immunoglobulin. This is a combination of antibodies that provide short-term protection against the virus.

Though both can be given up to a week after exposure, theyre most effective at preventing infection if administered within 48 hours.

If you receive a diagnosis of acute hepatitis B, a doctor may refer you to a specialist. They may advise you to get regular blood tests to ensure you dont develop chronic hepatitis.

Many people with acute hepatitis B dont experience serious symptoms. But if you do, it can help to:

  • get plenty of rest
  • take over-the-counter pain mediation, like naproxen, when needed

Other lifestyle changes may also be needed to manage your infection, such as:

  • eating a nutritious, balanced diet
  • avoiding substances that can harm your liver, such as:
  • certain herbal supplements or medications, including acetaminophen

If blood tests show you still have an active infection after 6 months, your doctor may recommend further treatment, including medications to help control the virus and prevent liver damage.

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Transmission Of Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B virus is transmitted through blood and sexual fluids. This can most commonly occur in the following ways:

Direct contact with infected blood

From an infected pregnant person to their newborn during pregnancy and childbirth

Needles and other medical/dental equipments or procedures that are contaminated or not sterile

Unprotected sex

Use of illegal or street drugs

Body piercing, tattooing, acupuncture and even nail salons are other potential routes of infection unless sterile needles and equipment are used. In addition, sharing sharp instruments such as razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, earrings and body jewelry can be a source of infection.

Hepatitis B is NOT transmitted casually. It cannot be spread through toilet seats, doorknobs, sneezing, coughing, hugging or eating meals with someone who is infected with hepatitis B.

Who Should Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine

Thermo Scientific Lab Vision Hepatitis B Virus Surface Antigen (HBVsAg ...

All newborn babies should get vaccinated. You should also get the shot if you:

  • Come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of friends or family members
  • Use needles to take recreational drugs
  • Have sex with more than one person
  • Are a health care worker
  • Work in a day-care center, school, or jail

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