Hepatitis B is the viral infection that is responsible for causing inflammation of the liver which also goes by the name of hepatitis. Hepatitis B virus causes it, by attacking the liver cells and causing either an acute or chronic hepatitis. People do fully recover from acute hepatitis B. Whereas in chronic hepatitis B symptoms are more subtle and the treatment focuses on preventing long-term liver damage and transmission of the disease.
It is caused when the hepatitis B virus spreads from person to person in the blood or in the body fluids. The virus is considered to be highly infectious and it transmitted by various means:
Hepatitis B has also been known to spread through blood transfusions as well.
People who have been infected with the hepatitis B virus develop the full-blown illness, and then they go on to make a full recovery. This is acute hepatitis B. Where acute hepatitis B is usually a mild illness, its type and severity of symptoms differ from person to person and depends on factors like age and general health. The Symptoms are:
Acute hepatitis B has a long time from infection to when the illness occurs. It takes on average, from two to three months. The most infectious period is considered from several weeks before symptoms start to appear until several weeks or months later. Most people who have are suffering from mild illness eventually recover completely from four to eight weeks, it is in cases where the conditions are more severe, recovery takes several months. There are rare cases as well when acute hepatitis B causes serious damage to the liver and it can be fatal as well. After recovering from acute hepatitis B, a person becomes immune and cannot pass the virus on to others.
Some people who have been infected with the hepatitis B virus develop chronic hepatitis B and become the carriers of the virus. Most of the people who are carrying hepatitis B must have contracted the virus as babies or as young children. It is unusual for an adult to become the chronic carrier. People with Chronic hepatitis B do not get ill at the time of the infection with the hepatitis B virus and most of them never suffer any negative effects either. But, around 40% of people who have suffered hepatitis B carriers develop liver damage eventually. Damage to the liver may lead to cirrhosis, which is a serious liver disease, this further creates the risk of liver cancer.
Those who have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus and who have not been vaccinated should receive hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) within 72 hours of exposure, and a dose of hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible or within 7 days.