Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), affecting the liver. It is transmitted through contact with infected blood, body fluids, or from an infected mother to her newborn during childbirth. Hepatitis B can lead to both acute and chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Symptoms range from mild to severe, encompassing fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, and nausea. Chronic hepatitis B infections may remain asymptomatic for years, increasing the risk of long-term liver complications. Vaccination is a highly effective preventive measure against Hepatitis B, and antiviral medications are available for managing chronic infections.

Hepatitis B manifests with a range of symptoms affecting the liver, varying from mild to severe. Common signs include fatigue, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal discomfort, and nausea. In acute cases, individuals may experience flu-like symptoms. Chronic hepatitis B infections can be asymptomatic for extended periods, increasing the risk of long-term liver complications.

Hepatitis B is primarily transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, or other body fluids. Common modes of transmission include unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person, sharing of needles or syringes, and perinatal transmission from an infected mother to her newborn during childbirth. Additionally, Hepatitis B can be spread through close personal contact, such as through open sores or cuts.

The diagnosis of Hepatitis B involves blood tests that detect specific markers related to the hepatitis B virus (HBV), such as surface antigens and antibodies. These tests help confirm the presence of the virus, determine the stage of infection, and assess liver function. In cases of chronic Hepatitis B, additional tests, including liver imaging and biopsy, may be conducted to evaluate the extent of liver damage.

Preventing Hepatitis B involves vaccination as a primary and highly effective measure, providing long-lasting immunity against the virus. The vaccination is recommended for all individuals, particularly those at higher risk, including healthcare workers, individuals with multiple sexual partners, and newborns born to infected mothers. Safe practices, such as using barrier methods during sexual activity and avoiding the sharing of needles or personal items, contribute significantly to reducing the risk of transmission.

The treatment of Hepatitis B involves antiviral medications that help manage the viral infection and reduce the risk of complications. These medications, such as interferon or oral antiviral drugs like tenofovir and entecavir, aim to suppress viral replication and minimize liver damage. Regular medical monitoring is essential to assess liver function and determine the effectiveness of treatment. In cases of chronic Hepatitis B, long-term antiviral therapy may be necessary.

  • According to the World Health Organization, more than 240 million individuals worldwide are currently grappling with long-term infections caused by the virus.

  • Medical and dental instruments that are not adequately sterilized present a risk of Hepatitis B transmission.

  • Only 10% of individuals infected with Hepatitis B are diagnosed.


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