Hepatitis B is caused by hepatitis B virus that causes of inflammation of liver. The swelling and inflammation of the liver affects the function. If hepatitis is diagnosed at early stage, it can lead to cirrhosis. However; if detected in the later stages it causes permanent failure of the liver. Hepatitis B is one of the major causes of liver cancer in the world.

It is a contagious virus and spreads through contact of infected saliva, blood and other fluids in the body.


Transmission of hepatitis B is through

  • Blood tranfusion from infected person
  • Sexual transmission
  • Use of infected needle
  • In infants it is transmitted from the mother
  • Use of infected razor or tooth brush

Unlike other form of hepatitis, hepatitis B is not transmitted through air, water and food.


It is difficult to diagnose hepatitis B, because the symptoms may not appear for months or even year. Symptoms of hepatitis include join pains, mild fever, dark urine, signs of jaundice, loss of appetite and weakness.

There are 2 types of diagnosis

  • HBsAg blood test is used for diagnosis of the infection.
  • DNA PCR is used to check amount of virus in the blood.

Treating acute hepatitis infection

Acute hepatitis does not need any special treatment. Proper diet and adequate fluid are enough for the body to fight the infection.

Treating chronic hepatitis B

Chronic hepatitis causes liver disease, hence it is important to get and prevent it from spreading.

  • Medication: Antiviral medicines reduce the viral load and liver injury.
  • A patient who is exposed hepatitis B virus needs to contact doctor and get hepatitis B immune globulin injection as soon as possible after coming into contact. Vaccination prevents hepatitis B.
  • Liver transplant: if the virus has caused severe damage then this option is evaluated.

Prevention of hepatitis B

Hepatitis B vaccine prevents the infection; people of all age group can get this vaccine. The vaccine is given in 3 or 4 shots; also; a combination vaccine that protects against Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A is available.

Another way to avoid the virus is by being alert; not sharing needles, toothbrush and razor with the infected person and having protected sex.

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Billroth Hospitals, 43,
Lakshmi Talkies Road,
Shenoy Nagar,
Tamil Nadu, India.

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