Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
Types of Hepatitis B
- Acute hepatitis B refers to newly acquired infections. Affected individuals notice symptoms approximately 1 to 4 months after exposure to the virus.
- Chronic hepatitis B is an infection with HBV that lasts longer than 6 months. Once the infection becomes chronic, it may never go away completely.
Causes of Hepatitis B
- Other - hepatitis A & C virus
- Can be spread through having contact with the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and other body fluids of someone who already has a hepatitis B infection.
- Blood transfusions
- Direct contact with blood in health care settings
- Sexual contact with an infected person
- Tattoo or acupuncture with unclean needles or instruments
- Shared needles during drug use
- Shared personal items (such as toothbrushes, razors, and nail clippers) with an infected person
- The hepatitis B virus can be passed to an infant during childbirth if the mother is infected.
Signs & symptoms of Hepatitis B
Acute illness causes liver inflammation, vomiting, jaundice and rarely, death.
Symptoms may not appear for up to 6 months after the time of infection. Early symptoms may include:
- Appetite loss
- Fever, low-grade
- Muscle and joint aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Yellow skin and dark urine due to jaundice
- Chronic hepatitis B may eventually cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis may have no symptoms, even though gradual liver damage may be occurring. Over time, some people may develop symptoms of chronic liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver.