A severe infection of the liver caused by a virus that’s spread through blood and body fluids, Hepatitis B currently infects more than 400 million people across the globe. Various medical studies show that every year Hepatitis B infects 350 million people chronically and 50 million new cases are diagnosed annually.
Hepatitis B Virus continues to be the leading cause of cirrhosis (destruction of the liver) and Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Also, among the people who are chronically infected, 15% to 25% are likely to die of sequela related to HBV infection.
Though, the vaccine for hepatitis B is available, the last few years have witnessed a major increase in overall prevalence of this virus infection.There are four drugs namely: interferon alpha, lamivudine, adefovir, and entecavir, which have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of hepatitis B virus. They are highly effective in decreasing replication and reduce inflammation and fibrosis. Hepatitis B is mainly caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Dr Prasanna Goel explains that the virus usually spreads from one person to another through blood, semen or other body fluids. It is non-contagious and does not get transmitted by sneezing or coughing.
A person is likely to be infected by Hepatitis B infection if he has unprotected sex with someone who is already infected. The virus can be transmitted through an infected person’s blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body
Hepatitis B Virus can be transmitted easily through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood, says Dr Prasanna Goel. Thus, it is highly recommended to avoid sharing IV drug paraphernalia as it increases the risk of hepatitis B significantly
Hepatitis B happens to be a major concerning health issue for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood.
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted from pregnant women infected with the virus to their babies during childbirth. However, in majority of the cases, the baby can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected. Dr PrasannaGoel recommends all the women to undergo hepatitis B test before pregnancy.
Depending upon the time duration for which the infection lasts, Hepatitis B can be either acute (Short-lived) or Chronic (long-lasting).
As a matter of fact, the common signs and symptoms of hepatitis B range from mild to severe. In majority of the cases, they start appearing in one to four months after you’ve been infected. According to Dr PrasannaGoel,there are a few cases in which you could experience them as early as two weeks post-infection. Also, there are some cases in which people, especially young children do not have any symptoms of the infection at all.
Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of Hepatitis B:
Keeping in mind the severity of Chronic hepatitis B infection, it becomes imperative to keep a check on its symptoms and undergo timely treatment for the same.
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