What is Hepatitis B?

What is Hepatitis B?

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a viral infection that affects the liver and is transmitted through direct contact with blood or other infected body fluids.

Typical symptoms of hepatitis B usually appear 90 days after infection and may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or Of the eyes) (1).

About half of infected adults and children over the age of five show symptoms, while many children under five have none(2).

Although most acute hepatitis B infections do not become chronic, if the infection persists for six months or longer without resolution, it can progress to chronic liver disease, liver cancer, and lead to death(3).

The diagnosis of hepatitis B is made through a blood test. In the acute stages, a hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) may be detected in the blood, persisting from one week to nine weeks post-infection. Those who overcome the infection develop hepatitis B surface antibodies (HBsAb), which can be detected in the blood. Such tests can take up to six months to indicate whether the infection has resolved or become chronic (4). Those who recover from an acute infection and eliminate the virus acquire lifelong immunity (5).

Hepatitis B is not considered highly contagious. Transmission occurs primarily through blood and other body fluids, such as semen and vaginal secretions (6). It is not transmitted through sneezing, kissing, sharing food or utensils, or breastfeeding (7). Transmission can often occur asymptomatically (8).

Those at increased risk of contracting hepatitis B include injection drug users, individuals who have sex with infected people, sexually promiscuous adults, residents and staff of detention facilities, healthcare workers exposed to blood, hemodialysis patients, and newborns from infected mothers(9).

The risk of hepatitis B transmission from mother to newborn is low, mainly due to routine prenatal screening of pregnant women for hepatitis B. Newborns of mothers who are positive or whose status is unknown are treated with immunoprophylaxis, including hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) to prevent transmission(10).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Corvelva invites you to get in-depth information by reading all the sections and links, as well as the manufacturer's product leaflets and technical data sheets, and to speak with one or more trusted professionals before deciding to vaccinate yourself or your child. This information is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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