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Hepatitis B Virus: What You Should Know
Hepatitis B virus can only be transmitted once, and you are not likely to get it again. Those who are still infected for life due to an infection that they never completely eradicated are particularly vulnerable to the disease during childhood. Antiviral medications are currently the most effective treatment for hepatitis B. It is possible to combat a virus by taking antiviral medications such as entecavir , tenofovir , lamivudine , adefovir , and telbunia . Current therapies to treat chronic hepatitis B have not been effective because they fail to eliminate the virus reservoirs in the cells. In contrast, the hepatitis C virus does not have such a reservoir and can be cured within a few weeks of treatment. How long can an adult survive without water?
Sexual Transmission And Viral Hepatitis
Certain adults who are sexually active should be vaccinated against hepatitis B.
CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend hepatitis B vaccination for
- sexually active people with more than one sex partner during the previous 6 months
- people seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease
- sex partners of people with hepatitis B and
- men who have sex with men .
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How Its Passed On
Most people get the virus from sharing drug injecting equipment such as needles, syringes, water cups, tourniquets, spoons, filters and swabs. Sharing things like straws and banknotes that are used for snorting drugs might pass the virus on, as can sharing pipes.
In the UK piercing and tattooing should be safe but unsterilised equipment abroad can spread the virus.
An infected person risks infecting others if they share anything that might have blood on it like a toothbrush or razor. A pregnant woman with the virus can give it to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth.
Blood transfusions in the UK are safe as blood is screened.
You can also potentially get it from medical or dental treatment abroad in countries where hepatitis C is common and infection control is inadequate.
How Is Hepatitis Treated
Someone who has hepatitis will need to drink enough fluids, eat healthy foods, and get rest. The person’s family members may need to get hepatitis vaccines, if they haven’t already.
Later on, the person will get follow-up blood tests. Often the blood tests will show that the person no longer has hepatitis. Sometimes, the blood tests may show that someone is now a carrier of hepatitis he or she won’t have hepatitis symptoms, but could pass the infection to other people.
Sometimes, blood tests will continue to show that some people still have hep B or C, which means they may have chronic hepatitis. If so, they will need to eat healthy foods and take very good care of themselves by getting rest and visiting the doctor regularly. In some cases, someone with chronic hepatitis may get special medicine for the condition.
We hope that this heads-up on hepatitis will help you stay safe. It may sound funny, but you can love your liver by washing your hands and making smart choices!
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What Is The Treatment For Hepatitis B
Prevention is recommended by receiving a vaccine for HBV.
Receiving an injection of the hepatitis B immune globulin within 12 hours of coming in contact with the virus may help prevent the development of the disease.
At present, there is no specific treatment for patients with acute hepatitis B. Acute infection is usually short and will often resolve on its own. Your health care provider may recommend rest, and adequate nutrition and fluids to help your body fight the infection. Hospitalization may be required for patients who suffer from severe vomiting and who are unable to maintain adequate nutritional levels. It may also be required to prevent the development of complications.
While chronic infection cannot be cured, there are two standard treatments in Canada that may control the virus and prevent further damage to the liver.
- Antiviral medications can fight the virus and slow damage to the liver.
- Interferon which may be given for short periods and if effective, results in suppression of the virus.
Can Hepatitis B Be Transmitted Through Water
There is no scientific evidence that hepatitis B can be transmitted through water. However, the virus can be transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids from an infected person. This means that if someone with hepatitis B were to contaminate a water supply with their blood, it is possible that others could become infected if they came into contact with the contaminated water.
In the event of serious liver damage, you should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. Does waterborne disease like Hepatitis B spread through contaminated water sources?
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Prevention And The Treatment Potential
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent HCV infection. However, the recent availability of DAA for the treatment of chronic HCV with cures rates over 95% has created optimism towards HCV elimination. In many countries treatment is now available for all individuals with a chronic HCV infection, irrespective of fibrosis stage . Modelling studies were the first to demonstrate that rapid scale-up of DAA might limit onward transmission and chronic HCV prevalence and incidence among MSM could decline -. However, for substantial reductions a decline in risk behaviour is needed as the scale-up of DAA is counterbalanced by ongoing risk behaviour, resulting in initial and reinfections -. In addition, early treatment, including treatment of acute infection, might further reduce HCV incidence , . As treatment is costly and treatment uptake varies considerably across countries , effective behavioural interventions for MSM at risk of infection are urgently needed. Qualitative research among HIV-positive MSM with a cured HCV infection in the pre-DAA era showed that the strongest motive to implement risk reduction strategies was the reward of avoiding HCV retreatment and its side effects , but this may have changed with the less burdensome DAA treatment. Also sexual risk norms within the MSM population, HCV stigma and non-disclosure of HCV status forms barriers to safer sex, and drug use directly impedes the self-efficacy of MSM to take risk reduction measures .
Good Nutrition And Rest
- All family members should eat a well-balanced diet that includes foods shown in the graphic MyPlate . You can find more information about balanced nutrition on the website ChooseMyPlate.gov .
- All family members should get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Young children who are ill should rest during the day when possible.
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What Kills Hep B Virus On Surfaces
Remove your disposable gloves and clean with a fresh bleach solution that has been heated to nine parts hot water. Use a fresh solution if the potency of the solution has quickly decreased, or do not use hot water. If you have chronic hepatitis B infection, you are more likely to die from liver disease, such as chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma .
Is Hepatitis Testing Recommended For People With Hiv
Yes. Everyone living with HIV should be tested for HBV and HCV when they are first diagnosed with HIV and begin treatment. People living with HIV who have ongoing risk factors for getting hepatitis B or hepatitis C should be tested annually.
In addition, new HCV screening recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call for:
- One-time screening for all adults 18 years and older
- Screening of all pregnant women during every pregnancy
- Testing for all persons with risk factors, with testing continued periodic testing those with ongoing risk.
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Is There A Vaccine For Hepatitis
There are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B that are available in the U.S. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Since you can only get hepatitis D if you have hepatitis B, getting the vaccine against B should protect you against hepatitis D. There is no FDA approved vaccine against hepatitis E, but vaccines against hepatitis E exist overseas .
Is Sex Safe If One Person Has Hepatitis C
While the risk of transmitting the hepatitis C virus through sex is low, some sexual activities do increase the risk. Heres what to know to stay safe.
If you or your partner has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, you dont have to swear off sex. Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact, and although certain sexual behaviors may increase the risk of hepatitis C, the virus is only rarely spread through sexual transmission.
That doesnt mean you should throw caution to the wind: Although treatable, hepatitis C is a serious illness that can harm the liver and lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, and other health complications. Whats more, it usually doesnt cause symptoms and can go undetected for years even decades.
The risk comes down to whether sex results in mucosal tears in body tissues, such as to the or the rectum, says Andrew H. Talal, MD, MPH, a hepatologist and professor in the department of medicine at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, part of The State University of New York.
Even the smallest tear in the skin or tissue gives the hepatitis C virus a way to travel from one body and enter the other. You need to always think about blood being exchanged thats where you need to be careful, Dr. Talal adds.
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No Identifiable Source Of Infection
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injection drug use accounts for approximately 60% of all HCV infections in the United States, while other known exposures account for 20-30%. Approximately 10% of patients in most epidemiological studies, however, have no identifiable source of infection. HCV exposure in these patients may be from a number of uncommon modes of transmission, including vertical transmission, and parenteral transmission from medical or dental procedures prior to the availability of HCV testing. There are no conclusive data to show that persons with a history of exposures such as intranasal cocaine use, tattooing or body piercing are at an increased risk for HCV infection based on these exposures solely. It is believed, however, that these are potential modes of HCV acquisition in the absence of adequate sterilization techniques.
Direct Exposure To Blood
Exposure to large amounts of contaminated blood increases the risk for hepatitis C transmission. If you get a cut and need help tending it, whoever helps you should first put on disposable gloves to prevent exposure in case he or she has a cut. You can also help prevent hepatitis C transmission by covering any cuts or sores with bandages until theyre healed and disposing of used bandages properly.
Uninfected people should take steps to avoid getting someone elses blood in their eyes, nose, and mouth. If an uninfected persons skin is exposed to contaminated blood, wash the area with soap and water immediately. If blood gets in the eyes, rinse them with running water right away and call a doctor to find out about further steps that should be taken.
When cleaning blood from surfaces, Dr. Lee recommends using a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water. Dried blood should also be handled with care because the virus can live for several days outside the body.
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Hepatitis: What You Should Know
It is possible for people who drink contaminated water to contract hepatitis C. Water can be a safe environment for the virus to live for up to three weeks. After water is used to refill containers, the physical properties of the containers determine how contaminated they are with Hepatitis C virus. How can you get Hepatitis B from drinking? The disease is not spread through drinking. What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B? In the first few cases, approximately 30%- 50% of people over the age of five display symptoms. The virus is primarily transmitted through saliva, but kissing and sharing utensils are not thought to be the source. Can you prevent Hepatitis B? The only way to stop Hepatitis A infection is to limit the virus in the liver.
What Laboratory Tests Are Available For 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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Parenteral Routes: Transmission Of Hepatitis B Hepatitis D And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses are all transmitted by what is known as the parenteral route. Parenteral simply means that these viruses can be introduced by all routes except through the intestinal tract, which leaves the door wide open in terms of possible exposure. Let’s look at the possible transmission routes for each of these types of hepatitis virus more closely.
You Might Not Know You Have It
Nearly half of people living with hepatitis C dont know they have it. Thats because most people live with the disease for years without feeling sick, or experiencing only minor symptoms such as fatigue. Frequently, the only indication of hepatitis C is an abnormal liver blood test panel. If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis C, be sure to talk to your physician.
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Baby Boomers Are At Higher Risk
If you were born between 1945 and 1965, you might not realize that you are more likely to have hepatitis C. The reason is that intravenous drug use was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and this practice occurred more commonly in young adults that were born between 1945-1965. Also, blood transfusions in the 1960s and 1970s not infrequently spread hepatitis C since the diagnostic test for hepatitis C was not yet discovered and blood could not be screened. All baby boomers should have a one-time test for hepatitis C to rule out infection.
Hepatitis C is a tricky disease. Its highly contagious, very dangerous and usually exists without presenting any symptoms at all. While hepatitis C can be transmitted in many different ways, its important to do what you can to help prevent contracting or spreading the disease, whenever possible, such as avoiding sharing needles at any time. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have questions, fears or would like to be tested.
How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed And Tested
Diagnosis of the type C hepatitis virus is essential to the long-term health of those infected with the illness. If you suspect that you have been infected a blood test can determine whether or not you have the disease. Blood tests can also measure the amount of virus present in your blood stream and determine the genotype of your virus, which can be useful in determining which hepatitis C treatment will be most effective for you.
Doctors may also recommend that you have a liver biopsy done if they believe you have been infected by hepatitis type C. This procedure involves a small needle being inserted through your skin and into your liver so a small sample tissue can be extracted. This tissue sample is then sent for laboratory testing. This testing can help determine the severity of the disease and help guide doctors toward the most appropriate treatment options.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact. It is very infectious and the virus can stay alive outside the body for up to several weeks.
The infection can be spread by:
sharing needles and syringes, particularly when injecting drugs
medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised
the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment
sharing contaminated razors, toothbrushes or towels .
It can be transmitted sexually, especially during or other types of sex that may involve blood, although this is less common. Sharing uncovered or unwashed sex toys can also pass it on.
The risk of hepatitis C infection is increased when you have another STI especially one that causes sores. People with HIV are also more likely to get hepatitis C.
The virus can also be passed on from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. For more details on hepatitis C in pregnancy read our in detail tab.
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