Viral Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

Hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent hepatitis B virus infection.

 

CLINICAL FEATURES

  • Jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, intermittent nausea, vomiting

 

ETIOLOGIC AGENT

  • Hepatitis B virus

 

TRANSMISSION

  • Bloodborne
  • Sexual
  • Perinatal

 

RISK GROUPS

  • Injection drug users
  • Sexually active heterosexuals
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Infants/children of immigrants from disease-endemic areas
  • Low socioeconomic level
  • Sexual/household contacts of infected persons
  • Infants born to infected mothers
  • Health care workers
  • Hemodialysis patients

 

TRENDS

Incidence increased through 1985 and then declined 55% through 1993 because of wider use of vaccine among adults, modification of high-risk practices, and possibly a decrease in the number of susceptible persons. Since 1993, increases observed among the three major risk groups: sexually active heterosexuals, homosexual men, and injection drug users.

 

PREVENTION

  • Hepatitis B vaccine available since 1982
  • Screening pregnant women and treatment of infants born to infected women
  • Routine vaccination of infants and 11-12 year olds
  • Catch-up vaccination of high-risk groups of all ages
  • Screening of blood/organ/tissue donors

    For more information and clinic locations

    Call the National STD/HIV InfoLine

    1-800-342-AIDS

Prepared by CDC (Centers for Disease Control), National Center for Infectious Disease