Hepatitis B infection is caused by the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B virus is present in the blood and body fluids of infected persons.
Facts Every Health Care Provider Should Know About Hepatitis B(Ar you patients at risk)
-Hepatitis B can be fatal.
-Hepatitis B, once caught, has no cure. There is, however, safe and proven prevention in the form of the hepatitis B vaccine.
-Hepatitis B virus infects over 200,000 people in the US every year, and there are currently 1.5 million chronic carriers in America alone.
-Hepatitis B kills over 5,000 Americans each year. It is a leading cause of chronic cirrhosis and a known cause of hepatocellular carcinoma. Death is usually delayed 10 to 20 years from the time of original infection.
-The hepatitis B virus is found in blood and body fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. It can be spread through sexual contact; by sharing needles or razors; and by tattooing or body piercing with unsterile equipment. However, 40% of those infected do not know how they contracted the disease and acknowledge no risk factors when asked.
-Seventy-seven percent of those infected with the hepatitis B virus every year are between the ages of 15-39. Fewer than 5% of adolescents and young adults have received the hepatitis B vaccine.
-Hepatitis B vaccine is the only product that will prevent a sexually transmitted disease (STD), as well as cancer.
-Pregnant women with hepatitis B will infect more than 50% of their infants. 90% of the 6,000 infants infected perinatally in the US each year will become chronic hepatitis B carriers, and 25% will eventually die of cirrhosis or liver cancer.
-Up to 30% of all pediatric infections occur through contact with adult chronic carriers of hepatitis B living in the same household.
-Many patients infected with hepatitis B have no symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they include loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, vomiting, stomach pain, and jaundice.
-Safe, effective hepatitis B vaccines have been available since 1982. Please protect your patients; give them the vaccine.
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