Hepatitis B Virus

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Comprehensive Overview of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

This guide provides detailed information about the Hepatitis B virus, including its symptoms, prevalence, transmission methods, and vaccination protocols.

Understanding Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

Key characteristics of HBV:

  • Causes liver inflammation, cirrhosis, or liver cancer.
  • Symptoms may include jaundice, tiredness, loss of appetite, and nausea.
  • Detection through blood tests.

Global and UK Prevalence of HBV

Prevalence statistics:

  • Over 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected.
  • High prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Pacific islands.
  • Declining infection rates in the UK, especially among children due to vaccinations.

Transmission of Hepatitis B

Common transmission methods:

  • Sexual contact and sharing needles.
  • From mother to baby during birth.
  • Exposure to sharp objects in the workplace.
  • Not spread through casual contact like handshakes or sharing food.

HBV and Immunity

Understanding the body's response to HBV:

  • 90% of adults clear the virus within months and develop immunity.
  • About 10% become chronic carriers with long-term liver damage.

Hepatitis B Vaccination

Vaccination information:

  • Available and administered in three doses over six months.
  • Safe and effective with no need for booster doses.

Vaccination Recommendations for Specific Professions

Professions with a higher risk of HBV exposure:

  • Medical and dental office workers, first aid administrators, and those involved in custodial duties with potential blood contact.
  • Employees in these professions should be offered the HBV vaccine for free.

It's crucial to be informed about HBV to take appropriate preventive measures in personal and professional settings.