Where Is The Hepatitis B Virus Found And How Is It Transmitted
Blood is the major source of the hepatitis B virus in the workplace. It can also be found in other tissues and body fluids, but in much lower concentrations. The risk of transmission varies according to the specific source. The virus can survive outside the body for at least 7 days and still be able to cause infection.
Can Hepatitis B Be Prevented
The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the best ways to control the disease. It is safe, effective and widely available. More than one billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally since 1982. The World Health Organization says the vaccine is 98-100% effective in guarding against the virus. Newborns should be vaccinated.
The disease has also been more widely prevented thanks to:
- Widespread global adoption of safe blood-handling practices. WHO says 97% of the blood donated around the world is now screened for HBV and other diseases.
- Safer blood injection practices, using clean needles.
- Safe-sex practices.
You can help prevent hepatitis B infections by:
- Practicing safe sex .
- Never sharing personal care items like toothbrushes or razors.
- Getting tattoos or piercings only at shops that employ safe hygiene practices.
- Not sharing needles to use drugs.
- Asking your healthcare provider for blood tests to determine if you have HBV or if you are immune.
What Is Hepatitis A
For kids, hep A is the most common type of hepatitis to get. The virus lives in poop from people who have the infection. That’s why it’s so important to wash your hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. If you don’t, and then go make yourself a sandwich, hep A virus might end up on your food, and then in you!
Vegetables, fruits, and shellfish also can carry hepatitis if they were harvested in contaminated water or in unsanitary conditions. Hepatitis A affects people for a short time, and when they recover, it does not come back.
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How Can You Prevent Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B: Vaccination is the best way to prevent all of the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it. In addition to the 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine given over 6 months, as of 2017, there is a 2-dose series given over 1 month.
Hepatitis C: No vaccine exists for HCV and no effective pre- or postexposure prophylaxis is available. The best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to never inject drugs or to stop injecting drugs by getting into and staying in drug treatment. If you continue injecting drugs, always use new, sterile needles or syringes, and never reuse or share needles or syringes, water, or other drug preparation equipment.
How Do You Catch Hepatitis B Virus
Blood from a person infected with hepatitis B virus is heavily contaminated with the virus. As a result, contact with blood is the most likely way to catch hepatitis B. Even casual contact with the blood of someone who is infected can cause infection.
Healthcare workers are at high risk of catching the disease, as are intravenous drug users and newborns of mothers infected with the virus. Sexual contact can also expose people to infection. The virus is also present in low levels in saliva.
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Transmission Of Hepatitis B
The hepatitis B virus is transmitted through blood and sexual fluids. This can most commonly occur in the following ways:
Direct contact with infected blood
From an infected pregnant person to their newborn during pregnancy and childbirth
Needles and other medical/dental equipments or procedures that are contaminated or not sterile
Use of illegal or street drugs
Body piercing, tattooing, acupuncture and even nail salons are other potential routes of infection unless sterile needles and equipment are used. In addition, sharing sharp instruments such as razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, earrings and body jewelry can be a source of infection.
Hepatitis B is NOT transmitted casually. It cannot be spread through toilet seats, doorknobs, sneezing, coughing, hugging or eating meals with someone who is infected with hepatitis B.
How Common Is Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is fairly common in Africa and the western Pacific region. Throughout the world, there are about 292 million people who are infected with chronic hepatitis B. In the U.S., the figure exceeds 2 million people.
The number of infections had been falling in the U.S., but fewer vaccinations among adults combined with the onset of the opioid crisis and injected drug usage has resulted in the numbers rising again. Infected women can pass the infection on to their babies. Children who are infected before age 5 are more likely to have chronic infection than those infected later in life.
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How Will I Know If An Individual Is Cured Of Hepatitis B
Not all patients with hepatitis B require treatment, which is generally used in more advanced disease. There are multiple anti-viral agents currently available that are effective in controlling the infection. Your physician will determine if you are a candidate for treatment, and if so, with which agent. Although a commercially available drug is not yet available to cure hepatitis B, researchers in Australia are currently studying an anticancer drug, birinapant. The drug is in clinical trials to determine its potential ability to cure hepatitis B.
Individuals that get infected with HBV and do not remain chronically infected can become HBsAg-negative about 15 weeks after onset of symptoms. However, patients are advised to consult their physician to interpret the results of HBV blood tests. The majority of adults recover from hepatitis B after several months they become non-contagious and are considered to be cured. Unfortunately, about 2% of adults and more than 90% of children under age 1 do not clear the infection and develop chronic hepatitis B infection. For this reason, HBV vaccine is urged for all infants and for individuals that are exposed to hepatitis B and have not been vaccinated.
Hepatitis B And Your Liver
The liver is such an important organ that we can survive only one or two days if it completely shuts down – if the liver fails, your body will fail, too. Fortunately, the liver can function even when up to 80% of it is diseased or removed. This is because it has the amazing ability to regenerate – or create – itself from healthy liver cells that still exist.
If your body were an automobile, your liver would be considered the engine. It does hundreds of vital things to make sure everything runs smoothly:
- Stores vitamins, sugar and iron to help give your body energy
- Controls the production and removal of cholesterol
- Clears your blood of waste products, drugs and other poisonous substances
- Makes clotting factors to stop excessive bleeding after cuts or injuries
- Produces immune factors and removes bacteria from the bloodstream to combat infection
- Releases a substance called “bile” to help digest food and absorb important nutrients
The word hepatitis actually means inflammation of the liver. Thus, hepatitis B refers to inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. With early detection and appropriate follow-up medical care, people living with a chronic hepatitis B infection can expect to enjoy a long and healthy life.
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Risks Of Hepatitis B Exposure
Like HIV, HBV can be spread through contact with infected blood or body fluids. The most common ways of being infected with HBV are:
- Sexual contact with an infected partner. Those most at risk are those who have multiple sexual partners, especially in areas where HBV is common.
- Sharing needles, straws, pipes, spoons, cookers, and other drug equipment. Cleaning equipment with bleach may not kill the virus.
- Tattooing, body piercing, or acupuncture when non-sterile equipment or techniques are used.
- Being born to a mother with HBV.
- Being exposed in the workplace by getting pricked by a needle or sharp equipment that has infected blood on it.
A Look At Each Vaccine: Hepatitis B Vaccine
The hepatitis B vaccine is given to prevent the severe liver disease that can develop when children or adults are infected with hepatitis B virus. The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of three shots. The first dose is given within 24 hours of birth. The second dose is given one to two months after the first dose, and the third dose is given between 6 months and 18 months of age. The vaccine is also recommended for those up to 60 years of age who have not previously received it and those 60 years and older who are at increased risk or who simply want the protection afforded by vaccination.
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Complications Of Hepatitis C
According to the CDC, 10 to 20 percent of people with HCV develop cirrhosis irreversible scarring of the liver that prevents the organ from functioning as it should over a period of two to three decades.
People with cirrhosis have an increased risk for liver cancer.
- Buildup of fluid in the abdomen, feet, ankles, or legs
- Enlarged spleen
- Enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus and stomach, which are more susceptible to tear and cause internal bleeding
Cirrhosis can eventually lead to end-stage liver disease, or liver failure, which is accompanied by several debilitating symptoms, including a buildup of toxins in the brain that can result in cognitive decline and coma. Cirrhosis also increases the risk for liver cancer.
“Unfortunately, HCV can destroy the liver and cause a horrendous death,” says Andrea Branch, PhD, a professor of medicine and liver diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. “To get the maximum benefit of treatment, it is important to treat HCV as soon as the infection is diagnosed.”
Hiv And Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Coinfection
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by a virus. Because these infections can be spread in the same ways as HIV, people with HIV in the United States are often also affected by chronic viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems among people with HIV than among those who do not have HIV. Liver disease, much of which is related to HBV or HCV, is a major cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people with HIV.
Given the risks of hepatitis B or hepatitis C coinfection to the health of people living with HIV, it is important to understand these risks, take steps to prevent infection, know your status, and, if necessary, get medical care from someone who is experienced in treating people who are coinfected with HIV and HBV, or HIV and HCV.
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Who Are Hepatitis B Carriers
Hepatitis B carriers are people who have the hepatitis B virus in their blood, even though they dont feel sick. Between 6% and 10% of those people whove been infected with the virus will become carriers and can infect others without knowing it. There are over 250 million people in the world who are carriers of HBV, with about 10% to 15% of the total located in India. Children are at the highest risk of becoming carriers. About 9 in 10 babies infected at birth become HBV carriers, and about half of children who are infected between birth and age 5 carry the virus. A blood test can tell you if you are a hepatitis B carrier.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is transmitted when the blood of an infected person enters the body of someone who isn’t infected.
Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began, people could contract the virus through blood transfusions and organ transplants.
Today, the most common ways that transmission occurs are:
- Through the sharing of needles and syringes for intravenous drug use
- Through accidental needle injuries in healthcare settings
- During birth, if the mother has hepatitis C
Using personal care items including razors and toothbrushes that have come in contact with blood infected with HCV can put you at risk of hepatitis C.
“Hepatitis C can be easily transmitted with any blood-to-blood contact ,” Dr. Malvestutto says. “There have been cases of transmission through sharing of razors or sharing ‘straws’ to inhale drugs nasally.”
Though less common, it’s also possible to acquire a hepatitis C infection by having unprotected sex with someone who has the virus.
Given that hepatitis C is spread through blood contact, an infected mother cannot give her baby hepatitis C through breastfeeding and you cannot contract the virus through saliva .
Some factors that increase your risk of hepatitis C:
Hepatitis C has some surprising ways of showing up. For example, your birth date alone may put you at a higher risk. Healthcare professionals and members of the military are also at greater risk.
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Favorite Hep C Online Magazine And Blogs
Hep Mag publishes current articles about people living with hep C, plus it offers a forum for people to ask questions and share stories and information with other readers. The online magazine also features a blog on funding, cures, liver disease, and related matters.
Feedspot, a feed compiling news from online sources, lists 20 top blogs and websites to explore concerning hepatitis C. Readers can connect with one another and find out about the latest drug research developments.
The Silent Epidemic Killing More People Than Hiv Malaria Or Tb
Nuru was prepared for the worst when she went to get screened for HIV eight years ago. After caring for her mother in Uganda, who died as a result of the virus, Nuru moved to the United Kingdom to study, and decided to take her health into her own hands. I was ready to be told I had HIV, she says. I felt, Thats okay. Ive looked up to my mother.
What she didnt expect was to be diagnosed with a different viral infection altogether: hepatitis B. The way the health worker delivered it to me, it was like, Its worse than HIV. I was confused, I was suicidal, says Nuru . I just didnt understand what it was because no one ever talks about hep B they talk about HIV. Thats well researched, its well talked about, well documented. Its all over the television. But hep B is not.
The hepatitis B virus , which spreads through blood and bodily fluids and invades liver cells, is thought to kill just under 1 million people every year around the world, mostly from cancer or scarring of the liver. HBV is less likely to be fatal than HIV, and many people who carry the virus dont have symptoms. But because more than 250 million people live with chronic HBV infections, more than 7 times the number with HIV, its global death toll now rivals that of the more-feared virus.
Source: Global Health Estimates 2016
Source: WHO Hepatitis B dashboard
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Active collaboration is central toward eliminating HBV, as such, we all have a part to play and dedicating a whole week to create awareness and draw attention of stakeholders is truly a great step.
The governor explained that the one-year KIF programme was initiated by Kaduna State Government to improve the capacity of young people and build a new crop of leaders for efficient public service in the country.
He said his administration would continue to provide opportunities for the youth to excel through people-oriented policies and programmes.
One of the KFI fellow, Michael Medubi, explained that the public lecture was part of a five-day KIF community service to educate and sensitise people on HBV.
Medubi said that the fellow had on Monday sensitised, counselled and provided testing services to students and staff of Kaduna Polytechnic and on Tuesday, trained 120 hairdressers and barbers on best practices.
On Wednesday, the foundation sensitised people at Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Central Market, Kaduna, on ways to prevent infection.
Other Body Fluids And Tissues
Hepatitis B is found in semen and vaginal secretions. The virus can be transmitted during unprotected sexual intercourse, and from mother to infant during birth.
Synovial fluid , amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, and peritoneal fluid can contain the hepatitis B virus, but the risk of transmission to workers is not known.
Feces, nasal secretions, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, and vomit have not been implicated in the spread of hepatitis B. Unless they are visibly contaminated with blood, the risk of contracting hepatitis B from these fluids in the workplace is very low.
Hepatitis B is not transmitted by casual contact. For example, hospital employees who have no contact with blood, blood products, or blood-contaminated fluids are at no greater risk than the general public. However, the virus can spread through intimate contact with carriers in a household setting, possibly because of frequent physical contact with small cuts or skin rashes. The virus can also spread through biting and possibly by the sharing of toothbrushes or razors. It is not spread through sneezing, coughing, hand holding, hugging, kissing, breastfeeding, sharing eating utensils, water or food.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Hepatitis B
The outlook for people with HBV is better now than ever before. You are certainly able to live a full life and help yourself stay healthy. You should make sure to have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider who is qualified to treat hepatitis B, possibly a liver doctor.
Make sure you are vaccinated against hepatitis A. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking other medications or over-the-counter products, including supplements and natural products. These could interfere with your medication or damage your liver. For instance, taking acetaminophen in large doses may harm your liver.
Follow the usual guidelines for living a healthy life:
- Eat nutritious foods, choosing from a variety of vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. It is said that cruciferous vegetables are especially good at protecting the liver.
- Exercise regularly.
- Dont smoke and dont drink. Both tobacco and alcohol are bad for your liver.
- Do things that help you cope with stress, like journaling, talking with others, meditating and doing yoga.
- Avoid inhaling toxic fumes.