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 Hepatitis B

Other name

Serum hepatitis.

Cause

Virus - Hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Distribution

Worldwide.

Incubation

2 - 3 months.

Transmission

  • Sexual - Higher risk with anal intercourse.
  • Mother to child infection.
  • Blood contact - For example, in people who receive contaminated blood transfusion and in drug abusers who use contaminated needles and syringes.

Symptoms

  • Dark urine.
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin).
  • Enlarged liver.
  • Nausea, fever and loss of appetite.
  • No symptoms.

Diagnosis

  • Hepatitis B blood tests.
  • Liver function tests.

Treatment

    Hepatitis B is usually self-limiting.
  • Bed rest and proper nutrition.
  • Avoid alcohol.

Complications

  • Approximately 1% of individuals develop severe liver damage which may be fatal.
  • About 19% of individuals fail to clear the virus completely and become Hepatitis B carriers. Hepatitis carriers have a higher risk of developing  liver cancer and may also transmit infection to others.

Comments

Vaccination is now available against Hepatitis B.