Hepatitis B

What is it? 

  • A virus that causes inflammation of the liver.
  • Can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer in chronic illness

How is it transmitted? 

  • Blood to blood contact
  • Sexual Contact
  • Vertical transmission – mother to baby

Activities which place people at risk 

  • Sexual contact with a person living with HBV
  • Sharing injecting equipment
  • Tattooing and skin piercing with contaminated equipment
  • Sharing toothbrushes, combs & razors

Short term effects

  • Acute may last up to 6 months
  • Flu like symptoms, dark urine, light coloured faeces, jaundice, fever & fatigue
  • Symptoms may be severe

Long term effects 

  • 5% of people develop a long-term illness and remain infectious to others
  • Fatigue, nausea, muscle pain, abdominal discomfort, jaundice.

Vaccination? 

  • Yes

Prevention 

  • No sharing of all injecting and auxiliary  equipment
  • Ensure sterile equipment for tattooing and skin piercing
  • Follow Universal Precautions when managing body fluids

Testing

The hepatitis B blood panel requires only one blood sample but includes three tests:

  • Checks is a person is currently infected with the hepatitis B virus, which may be an “acute” or a “chronic” infection.
  • Whether you have developed an immunity to hepatitis B which demonstrates exposure.
  • And if you have developed chronic hepatitis B

Monitoring 

  • People who are chronically infected need close monitoring with regular (6 monthly) liver function tests.

Treatment 

  • If a person has liver damage they should consider having antiviral treatment for hepatitis B

More information 

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hepatitis/Publications/HepatitisBStrategy.pdf

http://www.hepatitisaustralia.com/hepatitis-b-facts/about-hep-b

http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hepatitis-b-infection

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/

http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/immunise-hepb

http://www.ashm.org.au/HBV

http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Factsheets/hep-b.pdf

https://www.hep.org.au/what-is-hep-b/

http://www.mhahs.org.au/