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What is hepatitis B? II

Hepatitis B is a serious disease that affects the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause:
Acute (short-term) illness. This can lead to:
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
Chronic (long-term) infection. Some people go on to develop chronic HBV infection. This can be very serious, and often leads to:
  • liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • liver cancer
  • death
Chronic infection is more common among infants and children than among adults. People who are infected can spread HBV to others, even if they don't appear sick.
  • In 2005, about 51,000 people became infected with hepatitis B.
  • About 1.25 million people in the United States have chronic HBV infection.
  • Each year about 3,000 to 5,000 people die from cirrhosis or liver cancer caused by HBV.
Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. A person can become infected by:
  • contact with a mother's blood and body fluids at the time of birth;
  • contact with blood and body fluids through breaks in the skin such as bites, cuts, or sores;
  • contact with objects that could have blood or body fluids on them such as toothbrushes or razors;
  • having unprotected sex with an infected person;
  • sharing needles when injecting drugs;
  • being stuck with a used needle on the job.

tags:Hepatitis B virus,

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