Posts Tagged ‘health department’

Hepatitis B Information – Hepatitis Symptoms & Treatment

Dr. Sabrina Kendrick, Director of the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, talks about Hepatitis B

  • What is Hepatitis B?

    Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. It results from infection with the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B can be either “acute” or “chronic.”

    Acute hepatitis B virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis B virus. Acute infection can — but does not always — lead to chronic infection.

    Chronic hepatitis B virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis B virus remains in a person’s body.

  • What are the statistics for Hepatitis B?

    In 2006, there were an estimated 46,000 new hepatitis B virus infections in the United States. However, the official number of reported hepatitis B cases is much lower. Many people don’t know they are infected or may not have symptoms and therefore never seek the attention of medical or public health officials.

  • How common is chronic hepatitis B in the United States?

    In the United States, an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million persons have chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

  • How is Hepatitis B transmitted?

    Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected. People can become infected with the virus during activities such as:

    • Birth (spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth)
    • Sex with an infected partner
    • Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
    • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
    • Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
    • Exposure to blood from needlesticks or other sharp instruments.
  • What are the risk factors for transmission of Hepatitis B?

    Although anyone can get hepatitis B, some people are at greater risk, such as those who:

    • Have sex with an infected person
    • Have multiple sex partners
    • Have a sexually transmitted disease
    • Are men who have sexual contact with other men
    • Inject drugs or share needles, syringes, or other drug equipment
    • Live with a person who has chronic hepatitis B
    • Are infants born to infected mothers
    • Are exposed to blood on the job
    • Are hemodialysis patients
    • Travel to countries with moderate to high rates of hepatitis B
  • How do you prevent transmission of Hepatitis B?

    The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting the hepatitis B vaccine. The hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective and is usually given as 3-4 shots over a 6-month period.

  • What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?

    Symptoms of acute hepatitis B, if they appear, can include:

    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal pain
    • Dark urine
    • Clay-colored bowel movements
    • Joint pain
    • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or the eyes)
  • What is the test for Hepatitis B?

    There are many different blood tests available to diagnose hepatitis B. They can be ordered as an individual test or as a series of tests. getSTDtested provides the following test:

    Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) is a protein on the surface of the hepatitis B virus. It can be detected in the blood during acute or chronic hepatitis B virus infection. The body normally produces antibodies to HBsAg as part of the normal immune response to infection.

    A positive test means:

    A person has an acute or chronic hepatitis B virus infection and can pass the virus to others

    A negative test means:

    A person does not have the hepatitis B virus in his or her blood

  • What is the Window Period for Hepatitis B?

    On average, symptoms appear 90 days (or 3 months) after exposure, but they can appear any time between 6 weeks and 6 months after exposure.

  • Is there a vaccine or treatment for Hepatitis B?

    Yes, there is a vaccine.

    The hepatitis B vaccine series is a sequence of shots that stimulate a person’s natural immune system to protect against HBV. After the vaccine is given, the body makes antibodies that protect a person against the virus. An antibody is a substance found in the blood that is produced in response to a virus invading the body. These antibodies are then stored in the body and will fight off the infection if a person is exposed to the hepatitis B virus in the future.

  • Who should get vaccinated against hepatitis B?

    Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for:

    • All infants, starting with the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth
    • All children & adolescents younger than 19 years of age old who have not been vaccinated
    • People whose sex partners have hepatitis B
    • Sexually active persons not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship
    • Persons seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease
    • Men who have sexual contact with other men
    • People who share needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
    • People with close household contact with someone infected with hepatitis B
    • Healthcare and public safety workers at risk for exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids on the job
    • People with end-stage renal disease, including predialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and home dialysis patients
    • Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons
    • Travelers to regions with moderate or high rates of hepatitis B
    • People with chronic liver disease
    • People with HIV infection
    • Anyone who wishes to be protected from hepatitis B virus infection

    In order to reach individuals at risk for hepatitis B, vaccination is also recommended for anyone in or seeking treatment from the following:

    • Sexually transmitted disease treatment facilities
    • HIV testing and treatment facilities
    • Facilities providing drug-abuse treatment and prevention services
    • Healthcare settings targeting services to injection drug users
    • Healthcare settings targeting services to men who have sex with men
    • Chronic hemodialysis facilities and end-stage renal disease programs
    • Correctional facilities
    • Institutions & nonresidential day care facilities for the developmentally disabled