Hepatitis B (HBV) is a liver disease caused by a virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HBV is endemic in China and about a third of the world’s population has been infected at one point in their lives. It is a DNA virus which replicates in the liver. According to the WHO, The hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
About 30% of persons have no signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms are less common in children than adults. Among the possible symptoms are jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin), fatigue, stomach pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and joint pain.
HBV infected persons should be evaluated by their doctor for liver disease. There are drugs available for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Drinking alcohol can make your liver disease worse.
The spread of Hepatitis B happens when blood or body fluids from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not immune. It is spread through having sex with an infected person without using a condom, sharing needles, needle and other sharp exposures on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth. Persons at risk for HBV infection might also be at risk for infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) or HIV.
There is a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B that is required for all children in order to attend school in South Carolina. This is the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.
Other ways to reduce the risk include: