Communicable Disease Surveillance: Monthly

Hepatitis B-Chronic

0Jul 2022

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Story Behind the Curve

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The hepatitis B virus is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer. The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.

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