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Hepatitis B

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Hepatitis B, one of the most common liver infections causes by hepatitis B virus. The virus attacks the liver, causes the liver failure, cirrhosis and leading to hepatocellular carcinoma.


Hepatitis B is a silent disease where the patients infected with hepatitis B do not have symptoms in the early stages or in chronic conditions.

Worldwide, 2 billion people are infected with hepatitis B. 292 million people are suffering from chronic hepatitis B infection.


Transmission

The virus is generally transmitted through

• blood transfusion

• contaminated needles

• sexual contact and to the newborn baby from mother and illegal drugs

• by use of illegal drugs


Vaccination

Vaccines are available for the prevention of hepatitis B infection. Vaccines are administered in 3 doses in a period of 6 months. A vaccine is the first vaccine in the world targeted to prevent liver cancer.

As per the World Health Organization Guidance, children and infants up to 28 years of age and adults who are at risk of hepatitis B infections need to get vaccinated.

Further following people should get vaccinated as per CDC:

• Children below the age of 19

• Infants at birth

• Adults who have hepatitis B positive partners

• Drug users

• Patients with chronic liver failure

• Medical workers who are at a change of getting contact with blood

For children, there is three-dose vaccination. For adults, Dynavax is approved which is a two-dose vaccine available for adults.


Prevention

• Vaccination is the best method of preventing the hepatitis B. It is successful in preventing hepatitis B in adults, pediatrics, and adults

• Use condoms before sex

• Prevent blood transfusion

• Prevent the use of drugs

• Use sterile needles


Diagnosis

• Card test

• ELISA

• Liver biopsy: To check liver damage

• Transient elastography: In order to estimate the extent of liver damage


Treatment

There are two classes of drugs.

• Immune modular drugs: Interferons help to prevent the hepatitis B virus

• Antiviral drugs: Entecavir, tenofovir, lamivudine are nucleoside analogs that are indicated for the treatment of hepatitis B virus


References:

1. http://www.hepb.org/ (accessed on 4th February, 2019 11:00 IST)

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