Hepatitis B

Hepatitis b is a viral infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis b virus, anyone can get hepatitis b through contact with infective blood, semen, sweats of someone infected with hepatitis b, from mothers to their new born and through contaminated injections among injection drug user.

The disease is prevalent in sub-Sahara African and other parts of the world, and among young children who have not been vaccinated.



People who are at an increased risk getting infected with the virus may include the following:

  • People with hepatitis C
  • Infants born to infected mothers
  • Unprotected sex or multiple sex partners
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with HIV
  • Having sex with someone infected with hepatitis B virus without using condom
  • People with other sexually transmitted diseases
  • People who shared needles and IV drug users
  • People who receive organ transplants or transfusions of blood without testing for contagious diseases
  • People who undergo dialysis for kidney disease
  • Travel or live in hepatitis B endemic areas



Hepatitis B virus on like A, C, D and E have similar symptoms, but in hepatitis B symptoms usually develop months after been infected, but many people especially children do not develop symptoms. Symptoms include;

  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of being sick
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Dark colored urine




Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver, by the hepatitis b virus and can be transmitted;

  • From one person to another through contact with blood or fluids contaminated with blood of an infected person.
  • Having unprotected sex with someone infected with hepatitis B virus without the use of condom
  • Sharing needles, razors or other dirty sharp objects
  • Sharing injection drug needles among users
  • Organ transplants or transfusions of blood with hepatitis B virus
  • It can also be transmitted from an infected mother to a newborn child, during or after delivery
  • Contact with semen containing blood, and saliva of an infected person



In chronic stages it may result in;

  • Severe liver disease
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer



In some cases, hepatitis B goes away on its own. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B depends on whether the infection is getting worse or not and whether there is liver damage. Antiviral medications are currently available and liver transplant is the option for liver failure.



The hepatitis B vaccination is the only way to prevent the disease, according to the world health organization the vaccine is given for a period of six months in 3 to 4 doses and is strictly recommended for:

  • People who are not vaccinated
  • Those who live with someone who has hepatitis B
  • Infants
  • Health care workers
  • Sexual partners of someone who has been infected
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have HIV or other sexually transmitted infections
  • People who have multiple sexual partners
  • Injection drug users or people who share needles and syringes
  • People with chronic liver disease
  • People with chronic kidney disease




NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hepatitis-b/causes/#whos-most-at-risk-of-hepatitis-b

WHO – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/

Mayoclinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatitis-b/symptoms-causes/syc-20366802


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