What Are The Risk Factors For Getting Hepatitis B
Due to the way that hepatitis B spreads, people most at risk for getting infected include:
- Children whose mothers have been infected with hepatitis B.
- Children who have been adopted from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection.
- People who have unprotected sex and/or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
- People who live with or work in an institutional setting, such as prisons or group homes.
- Healthcare providers and first responders.
- People who share needles or syringes.
- People who live in close quarters with a person with chronic hepatitis B infection.
- People who are on dialysis.
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How Is Hepatitis C Treated
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , current treatments usually involve just 812 weeks of oral therapy and cure over 90% with few side effects.
The research on hepatitis C treatment continues to evolve, so its best to talk to your doctor about the latest available treatment options.
The Future Of Treatment
Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council for the annual International Hepatitis B Virus Meeting and the Incoming Chair of the International Coalition to Eliminate HBV, Dr Tavis works on the front line of researching new developments in HBV treatments.
Dr Tavis says the cure to HBV is coming. The feeling within the scientific community is that major improvements will happen somewhere in the next five to 10 years it isnt going to be one optimal combination at first.
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What Are The Types Of Hepatitis B
There are two types of hepatitis B infection: acute and chronic.
An acute infection happens at the beginning, when you first get infected with hepatitis B. Many people are able to clear it from their bodies and recover. In fact, this is true of about 4 in 5 adults who are infected.
If you are not able to clear the infection within six months or longer, you have chronic hepatitis B. It is chronic hepatitis B that leads to inflammation and the serious, and possibly fatal, illnesses of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Treatment can slow disease progress, reduce the chance of liver cancer and increase your chances of surviving.
Recommendations For Frequency Of Repeat Testing In An Asymptomatic Patient
The frequency of testing depends on the history of sexual exposure and number of sexual partners. However, in the case of hepatitis A and B, once the patient has completed a course of vaccination no further repeat testing is required.
For those at continuing risk and who have not received a course of vaccination, the following is recommended.
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New And Current Treatment Options For Hepatitis B
The search for new treatments for hepatitis B has been ongoing for decades. While effective at suppressing the virus, current treatments, which include antivirals, cannot eliminate it from the liver.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection that results from the hepatitis B virus. People acquire it through contact with the bodily fluids of someone with the virus. The liver cleanses the body of waste, and the disruption to its processes can make a person seriously ill.
This article will outline the current treatment options for HBV. It will also discuss new treatments in development that may lead to a cure for HBV.
Initial infection with HBV is an acute infection. Most healthy people with infection with this virus will not have symptoms and can shed the virus easily. If tests show that a person still has the virus 6 months after contracting it, they have a chronic, long-term infection. Doctors use blood tests to diagnose and monitor the condition.
Treatment whether a person has acute or chronic hepatitis B.
What If You Test Positive
If a test says you have viral hepatitis, you can take steps to protect the ones you love. For hepatitis A, wash hands frequently. For hepatitis B and C, avoid sharing nail clippers, razors, or toothbrushes. Hepatitis B, and sometimes hepatitis C, can be passed through sexual contact. Make sure everyone in your household gets the hepatitis B vaccine. An important step is to see a specialist to discuss treatment options.
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With The Momentum Growing Around Hepatitis B Drug Discovery Research We Are Closer Than Ever To A Cure
From the Spring 2016 B Informed Newsletter
With the momentum growing around hepatitis B drug discovery research, how far are we from a cure?
Closer than ever, according to Timothy Block, PhD, president and co-founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation and its research arm, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. He points out that hepatitis C, initially thought to be incurable, can now be cured with new combination treatments.
Hepatitis B is in a similar position, Block believes. And the need for a cure has never been greater, with over 240 million people living with chronic hepatitis B infection worldwide, resulting in 1 million deaths per year from related liver failure and liver cancer.
Treatments are available, explains Block, but we have become a little too comfortable with the seven medications that are currently approved for use. While these drugs are effective, the interferons have many side effects and the oral antivirals require lifelong use. Moreover, they work in only about half of the infected population, and reduce the rate of death due to liver disease by only about 40 to 70 percent.
For those who benefit from treatment, the antiviral drugs prove that medications can be effective. However, there are millions who do not benefit and are still left vulnerable. We should not accept that a significant number of people will still die from hepatitis B-related complications despite taking the current drugs, Block declares.
What would a cure look like?
Whats The Prognosis For Hepatitis B
Your doctor will know youâve recovered when you no longer have symptoms and blood tests show:
- Your liver is working normally.
- You have hepatitis B surface antibody.
But some people don’t get rid of the infection. If you have it for more than 6 months, youâre whatâs called a carrier, even if you donât have symptoms. This means you can give the disease to someone else through:
- Unprotected sex
- Contact with your blood or an open sore
- Sharing needles or syringes
Doctors donât know why, but the disease does go away in a small number of carriers. For others, it becomes whatâs known as chronic. That means you have an ongoing liver infection. It can lead to cirrhosis, or hardening of the organ. It scars over and stops working. Some people also get liver cancer.
If youâre a carrier or are infected with hepatitis B, donât donate blood, plasma, body organs, tissue, or sperm. Tell anyone you could infect — whether itâs a sex partner, your doctor, or your dentist — that you have it.
CDC: âHepatitis B Questions and Answers for Health Professionals,â âHepatitis B Questions and Answers for the Public.â
Mayo Clinic: âHepatitis B.â
UpToDate: âHepatitis B virus: Screening and diagnosis.â
HealthyPeople.gov: âHepatitis B in Pregnant Women: Screening.â
Annals of Internal Medicine: âScreening for Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Nonpregnant Adolescents and Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.â
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Looking Toward A Cure For Hepatitis B
Infection with hepatitis B virus can be effectively treated with an oral nucleoside or nucleotide analog . Still, lifelong daily medication is required and the clinical rebound that results from stopping medication can be severe. As is the case for other chronic viral infections, the holy grail of treatment would be a molecule to induce permanent remission with a delimited course of treatment. One proposed compound is the antisense nucleotide bepirovirsen, which inactivates HBV RNA in multiple capacities and limits viral protein synthesis.
In a worldwide, multicenter, manufacturer-supported, phase 2B trial, researchers randomized 457 adults with chronic HBV infection to one of four dosing schedules of weekly bepirovirsen administered subcutaneously. Participants were mostly white or Asian men half were also receiving NA treatment. After 12 or 24 weeks of bepirovirsen and 24 weeks of treatment-free follow up, 26 participants maintained persistently undetectable HB surface antigen and HBV DNA. If viral “blips” were discounted, the number with a sustained response rose to 31.
Factors correlating with sustained response included low HbSAg level at study entry and randomisation to the highest dose and longest duration of bepirovirsen. Adverse effects included injection-site reactions, fever, and in two patients, severe hepatitis requiring hospitalisation.
Who Should Be Tested
Testing for hepatitis A is not routinely recommended.
CDC recommends hepatitis B testing for:
- Men who have sex with men
- People who inject drugs
- People with elevated ALT levels
- Infants born to HBV-infected mothers
CDC recommends hepatitis C testing for:
- All adults aged 18 years and older
- All pregnant women during each pregnancy
- About 24,900 new infections each year
- About 22,600 new infections in 2018
- Estimated 862,000 people living with hepatitis B
- About 50,300 new infections in 2018
- Estimated 2.4 million people living with hepatitis C
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Hepatitis B And Pregnancy
If youâre pregnant, you might pass the virus to your baby at birth.
If your baby gets the virus and isnât treated, they could have long-term liver problems. All newborns with infected mothers should get hepatitis B immune globulin and the vaccine for hepatitis at birth and during their first year of life.
Cost Of Hepatitis C Medicines
The newer direct-acting antiviral medicines for hepatitis C can be costly. Most government and private health insurance prescription drug plans provide some coverage for these medicines. Talk with your doctor about your health insurance coverage for hepatitis C medicines.
Drug companies, nonprofit organizations, and some states offer programs that can help pay for hepatitis C medicines. If you need help paying for medicines, talk with your doctor. Learn more about financial help for hepatitis C medicines.
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The Hepatitis B Vaccine
Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is one of the most effective ways to prevent hepatitis B. Its usually administered in two, three, or four doses. In many countries, infants receive their first dose of the vaccine at birth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that infants receive their first dose of the vaccine at birth and finish all doses at 6 to 18 months old.
The CDC also recommends all children under the age of 19 years old be vaccinated if they havent already received the vaccination.
Adults can also get the hepatitis B vaccine. The vaccine is generally recommended if you have an increased risk of contracting the virus. Some of these risk factors include:
- traveling to or living in a region where hepatitis B is common
- being sexually active with more than one partner or with a partner who has hepatitis B
- working in a medical setting or other workplaces where youre exposed to bodily fluids
- using intravenous drugs and sharing drug equipment
- having chronic liver disease, a human immunodeficiency virus infection, a hepatitis C infection, diabetes, or kidney disease on dialysis
If youve been exposed to the hepatitis B virus and havent been vaccinated, try to see a doctor right away. They can administer the first dose of the vaccine, though youll need to follow up to receive the remaining doses over the next few months.
They may also prescribe a medication called
European Commission And Thervacb Join Forces
The role of viral hepatitis as a public health threat has long been underestimated. Only very recently, the United Nations in their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development called for international action to combat viral hepatitis and reduce the disease burden. The major killer is the hepatitis B virus causing liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Worldwide 880,000 humans die each year from the consequences of an HBV infection.
A prophylactic vaccine is available to prevent HBV infection, but more than 3% of the worlds population are chronically infected and do not profit from that vaccine anymore. For those suffering from chronic hepatitis B, until today no curative treatment option exists.
The European Commission therefore selected the project TherVacB led by Helmholtz Zentrum München for a five-year funding within the Horizon 2020 program. A consortium of leading virologists, immunologists and physicians specialized in treating viral hepatitis, will use a newly designed therapeutic vaccine, TherVacB, as an immunotherapy to cure HBV. TherVacB will be evaluated in a three-year clinical trial starting in 2022 conducted in Europe and in Africa. Integration of a partner site in Tanzania shall help building local capacities for diagnosing and treating hepatitis B and support an important goal of the consortium to raise awareness for hepatitis B.
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Its Great Weve Got But Its Not Where We Need To Be He Says One Class Is Hard To Take The Other You Need To Take Forever
HBVs assault on the liver causes a disease called Hepatitis B . Most adults with hepB recover within one to three months after symptoms start, but when the infection persists longer than six months its considered chronic. As the virus attacks the liver cells, it leaves behind nasty scars called fibrosis. In up to one-third of the patients the scars become severe , eventually resulting in liver failure or liver cancer. While hepB can be fatal, it is treatable, but it is also easily prevented to a degree of 95% through routine, safe, immunisation.
Upscaling vaccination, screening and treatment is the best way to keep this viral criminal at bay. New developments or scientific breakthroughs in any of these three areas is bad news for HBV, but good news for us. So, when scientists on the frontline say this deadly disease is about to meet its match, its great news.
Who Are Hepatitis B Carriers
Hepatitis B carriers are people who have the hepatitis B virus in their blood, even though they dont feel sick. Between 6% and 10% of those people whove been infected with the virus will become carriers and can infect others without knowing it. There are over 250 million people in the world who are carriers of HBV, with about 10% to 15% of the total located in India. Children are at the highest risk of becoming carriers. About 9 in 10 babies infected at birth become HBV carriers, and about half of children who are infected between birth and age 5 carry the virus. A blood test can tell you if you are a hepatitis B carrier.
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What Happens With Hepatitis A
Like many other viral diseases, Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It usually is spread from person to person via a fecal-oral route, meaning via fecal contamination of food. It usually is a mild hepatitis, and many people do not know they are infected. The virus is eliminated by the body rapidly, and it does not cause long-term damage. Good hand washing hygiene helps prevent hepatitis A.
How Is Acute Hepatitis B Treated
Acute hepatitis B doesnt always require treatment. Most of the time, a doctor or healthcare professional will recommend monitoring your symptoms and getting regular blood tests to determine whether the virus is still in your body.
While you recover, allow your body to rest and drink plenty of fluids to help your body fight off the infection. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with any abdominal pain you have. Speak with a doctor about which medications can help your symptoms.
See a doctor if your symptoms are severe or seem to be getting worse. You may need to take a prescription antiviral medication to avoid potential liver damage.
Like acute hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis B may not require medical treatment to avoid permanent liver damage. For some people, monitoring their symptoms and getting regular liver tests is an appropriate care regimen.
Treatment generally involves antiviral medications, such as:
- peginterferon alfa-2a injections
- antiviral tablets, such as tenofovir or entecavir
Antiviral medications can help to reduce your symptoms and prevent liver damage, but they rarely completely get rid of the hepatitis B virus. Instead, the goal of treatment is for you to have the lowest viral load possible. Viral load refers to the amount of a virus in a blood sample.
You can lower your risk of developing hepatitis B or spreading the virus to others by:
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The A B Cs Of Hepatitis
The hepatitis A virus causes acute inflammation of the liver that almost always gets better on its own, although it can be more serious if you get it when you are older or if you already have liver disease. It is easily spread from person to person, in food and water, and can infect many people at once. For example, if a food handler at a restaurant is infected with hepatitis A, those who eat food prepared by that handler may be infected. Hepatitis A can be prevented by getting vaccinated.
The hepatitis B virus can be both acute and chronic and is spread through blood or other body fluids in various ways. Hepatitis B is very common in Asia and Africa and those who were born or lived in these areas should be checked for hepatitis B. Like hepatitis A, a vaccine is available to prevent HBV infection as long as you have not been previously exposed. Although chronic HBV cannot be cured, there are oral medications available to treat and control the virus.
The hepatitis C virus is almost always chronic and spreads mostly by direct blood to blood contact. Although hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination, hepatitis C cannot. However, there are currently oral medications available that are able to cure Hepatitis C in 95% of all cases regardless of prior treatment history.
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