Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus that infects a person via body fluids (such as blood or contaminated blood products, semen or vaginal fluid) that lead to :

1) acute hepatitis (which can be potentially fatal)

2) chronic hepatitis (continuous or long-term inflammation of the liver)

3) liver cirrhosis (hardening of the liver)

4) liver cancer (as a result of chronic inflammation and cirrhosis)

 

Hepatitis B therefore can be transmitted via

– sharing of contaminated needles (via recreational drug injection)

– unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person

– mother to child transmission during pregnancy (from an infected mother)

 

Symptoms from acute infection include

– non specific flu-like symptoms

– abdominal pain over the right upper abdomen

– jaundice

 

Hepatitis B can b diagnosed with a simple blood test looking for Hepatits B viral antigen.  For those who are otherwise well, you should consider doing a Hepatitis screen (either as part of a multiphasic health screening package or as a standalone test).  If you are not immune to Hepatitis B, immunization should be started immediately.

 

Immunization can be given as either Hepatitis B vaccine (e.g. Engerix B) or as a Hepatitis A and B combo vaccine (e.g. Twinrix) and is carried out over 6 months in the following interval :

Dose 1 – Day 0

Dose 2 – Month 1

Dose 3 – Month 6

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