What Is Hepatitis B?


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Kath Senior answered
Hepatitis B is a form of hepatitis, which is generally an inflammation of the liver. Like hepatitis A, which is caused by a virus, hepatitis B is infectious but is not spread by faecal contamination or ordinary direct contact between people. It is blood borne and is spread by direct blood contact and sexual contact. It is common in drug addicts and prostitutes.

The symptoms include jaundice, fever, weakness and tenderness of the liver area (the same as hepatitis A) but people infected with hepatitis B have a greater chance of developing a sub clinical disease. This means that they have the virus in their blood but they do not show obvious symptoms such as jaundice. They may have a slight fever and feel tired, but otherwise they have no other signs of infection.

This means that they may be responsible for passing on the disease without knowing it. Immunisation is available and is recommended for people at high risk of blood exposure – nurses, doctors and dentists.

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