Hepatitis B (Hep B)
What is it?
A virus that attacks the liver.
Infants and young children usually show no symptoms.
Hep B infection causes:
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
- Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Dark urine
These symptoms usually appear three or four months after a person gets the virus.
How does it spread?
Hep B is spread through contact with blood of an infected person (even if they show no symptoms).
- At birth
- Open cuts or sores
- Sharing toothbrushes or other personal items
- Food chewed for a baby
- Any infected family member or caregiver can pass the virus to your baby.
- The virus can live on objects for seven days or more.
First dose at birth
Second dose 1-2 months
Third dose 6-18 months
Those at risk who have not been previously vaccinated should get vaccinated at any age.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common hepatitis viruses are hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.