What are the causes of Hepatitis B?| Blog

What are the causes of Hepatitis B?

What are the causes of Hepatitis B?

by: Dr. Bharti Minocha
Consultant, Gynecology

Hepatitis B infection is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is passed from person to person through blood, semen or other body fluids. However, this serious infection caused due to a virus can be easily prevented through a vaccination. Symptoms associated with Hepatitis B are variable and include yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain, and dark urine. Some people, particularly children, don’t experience any symptoms. In chronic cases, liver failure, cancer or scarring can occur.

How is Hepatitis B transmitted?

Commonly HBV is transmitted through:

  • Mother to child: An infected mother can transfer the infection to the fetus. However, the newborn can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected in almost all cases.
  • Sexual contact: You are at a risk if you are having sex with an infected person, it can be transmitted through vaginal secretion or semen.
  • Needle prick: Hepatitis B is a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood.
  • Sharing of needles: HBV is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing intravenous (IV) drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of hepatitis B.

The above mentioned are the main causes for the spread of hepatitis B. However, there are also some other causes that spread the hepatitis B. They can be listed as follows:

  • Having a tattoo, body piercing, or medical or dental treatment in an unhygienic environment with unsterilised equipment.
  • Having a blood transfusion in a country where blood isn’t tested for hepatitis B.
  • The blood of someone with hepatitis B getting into an open wound, cut, or scratch in rare cases, being bitten by someone infected with hepatitis B can also spread the infection.
  • Sharing toothbrushes or razors contaminated with infected blood.

Which people are at risk of being infected with Hepatitis B?  

  • Babies born to an infected mother.
  • Close contacts, such as family members, of someone with long-term (chronic) hepatitis B infection
  • People who have ever injected drugs.
  • People who are involved in unprotected sex.
  • Men who have sex with men, and commercial sex workers
  • People with multiple sex partners

How can you prevent infection from Hepatitis B?

  • Get all members of the family tested and vaccinated.
  • Do not share personal items with body fluids on them.
  • Each and every woman should be tested for hepatitis B.
  • Identification is the most effective way to prevent transmission.
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