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Hepatitis B in Short

James Anderson, MD, FACC

Chronic Infection

Hepatitis B is a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver.
Anyone can get hepatitis B, but some people are more likely to than others.
You could get hepatitis B through contact with an infected person’s blood, semen, or other body fluid.
Most people do not have any symptoms of hepatitis B. Adults and children ages 5 and older may have symptoms.
See a doctor right away if you or a child in your care has symptoms of hepatitis B.
Acute hepatitis B is a short-term infection with the hepatitis B virus.
Chronic hepatitis B is a long-lasting infection with the hepatitis B virus. Chronic hepatitis B occurs when the body can’t get rid of the hepatitis B virus.
Children, especially infants, are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B.
A blood test will show if you have hepatitis B.
If you are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B, get tested. If you are pregnant, you should also get tested.
Many people with hepatitis B do not know they are infected. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage.
Hepatitis B is usually not treated unless it becomes chronic. Chronic hepatitis B is treated with medicines that slow or stop the virus from damaging the liver.
You can avoid getting hepatitis B by receiving the hepatitis B vaccine.
Tell your doctor and your dentist if you have hepatitis B.
If you are pregnant and have hepatitis B, tell the doctor and staff who deliver your baby.
See your doctor right away if you think you have been in contact with the hepatitis B virus.

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