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Hepatitis B

more about Hepatitis B

  • Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver.  Hepatitis B is a specific type of hepatitis caused by the hepatitis B virus, which is usually transmitted by blood products, or sexually.  Hepatitis B can cause an acute infection or a chronic (persistent) one.

  • First phase (lasts 2-3 weeks):
    1. Fatigue
    2. Not "feeling well"
    3. Loss of appetite
    4. Nasal discharge
    5. Sore throat
    6. Skin rashes
    7. Joint pain
    8. Fever or chills
    9. Nausea/vomiting
    10. Abdominal pain
    11. Diarrhea or constipation
  • Second (Icteric) phase (occurs 5-10 days after first phase):
    1. Yellow skin or eyes
    2. Usually other symptoms improve
  • Third (convalescent) phase:

- Continued steady improvement

  • Chronic persistent hepatitis:
    1. May have none
    2. Fatigue
    3. Loss of appetite
  • Chronic active hepatitis:
    1. May have none
    2. Fatigue
    3. Yellow skin or eyes may be present

  • Skin -- yellow skin or eyes
  • Liver tenderness
  • Spleen tenderness
  • Elevated AST, ALT, and total Bilirubin
  • Hepatitis B antibody testing to confirm diagnosis
  • Acute: positive HBsAg, HbeAg, Anti-HBc IgM
  • Chronic persistent: positive HBsAg, positive Anti-Hbe IgG
  • Chronic active hepatitis: positive HBsAg, Anti HBc IgG (& low levels IgM), HbeAg
  • Liver biopsy to diagnose chronic forms

  • Homosexuals
  • Intravenous drug abusers
  • Medical professionals
  • Hemodialysis workers
  • Infants of mothers with hepatitis B

  • Acute hepatitis:

- Avoid Tylenol and alcoholic beverages.  Bed rest as needed.  No medical treatment.

  • Chronic active hepatitis:
    1. Alpha-Interferon
    2. Lamivudine

  • Infection with delta agent.  This is a secondary agent on top of the infection with hepatitis B.  It can make the infection much more severe.  Diagnosis is made by checking for anti-HDV in the blood.
  • Hepatocellular (liver) cancer-patients who have been infected with hepatitis B are at much higher risk of developing liver cancer
  • Liver Cirrhosis

  • Hepatitis B vaccine:
    1. Hepatitis B vaccine now exists and is routinely given during childhood immunizations.  It is also given to high-risk adults, e.g., medical professionals.
    2. Hepatitis B immune globulin immunization for pregnant mothers
  • Universal blood precautions
  • Condoms may reduce or eliminate the chances of contracting hepatitis B from sexual relations.

more about Hepatitis B

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