Are You at Risk of Hepatitis B?
Then here's some things you should know.
Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus
(HBV), which is spread-often unknowingly- through
having sex with an infected person without using a
condom, by sharing needles, through needle sticks or
sharps exposures on the job, or from an infected
mother to her baby during birth. There are many ways
to catch the virus, and you must keep all fronts
WHAT IS HEPATITIS
Hepatitis B results when HBV attacks the liver. This
can possibly cause lifelong liver infection,
cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer and
death. In the United States, HBV is responsible for
approximately 5,000 deaths each year.
People at any age can become infected with HBV, and
it is highly contagious. A person who is not immune
to HBV can become infected by coming in contact with
a small amount of blood or body fluids from an
Individuals are at high risk for getting HBV if
• Have unprotected sex.
• Have sex with more than one partner.
• Inject drugs.
• Use unsterilized needles when tattooing,
ear-piercing or body-piercing.
• Share items such as razors or toothbrushes.
• Share chewing gum.
• Come in contact with fresh skin breaks, cuts,
burns or blood of an infected person.
• Living in the same house as a chronically infected
• Work in a hospital or other health care facility.
Pregnant women with hepatitis B can also infect
their children while giving birth.
SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS B
Adolescent and many adults who get hepatitis B
usually have no symptoms in some cases, infection
with HBV may cause some of the following symptoms:
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea or vomiting
Weakness or tiredness
• Abdominal pain
• Light-colored bowel movements
• Dark urine
• Yellow coloring to the skin and eyes (Jaundice)
About 1 million people in the United States carry
the virus and can infect others. One out of 20
people will contract this disease, but the good news
is that hepatitis B can be prevented through
In the United States, infants have been vaccinated
against HBV since 1991. The American Academy of
Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family
Physicians, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices recommend vaccinations for
all babies and unvaccinated children as part of
routine childhood Immunizations, and for adults who
are at high risk. The CDC recommends a three-dose
schedule of the hepatitis B vaccine for adequate
protection.Are You at Risk of Hepatitis B?