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Hepatitis B

Vaccination & Treatment at WTMF in Fremont

Hepatitis B is a very serious viral infection that attacks the liver and results in acute and chronic disease. This infection is caused by a virus that is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids or blood of someone who is infected. There are an estimated 240 million people who are chronically infected with hepatitis B. Every year, approximately 686,000 people die because of complications related to this disease, which can include cancer of the liver and cirrhosis.

This deaths are all the more tragic because hepatitis B is highly preventable. A vaccine is in place that can prevent this condition. It is both safe and extremely effective—in fact, the vaccine is about 95% effective in preventing hepatitis B. Introduced in 1982, this vaccine has saved countless lives. Healthcare workers should be especially diligent about vaccinating against hepatitis B, as it is a frequent health hazard for those who work in the medical industry.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

In most cases, people with an acute hepatitis B infection do not exhibit symptoms. Others may experience serious illness with symptoms such as:

  • Yellow skin and eyes; jaundice
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Severe exhaustion

Some people with acute hepatitis may develop acute liver failure. This can cause death. Others may experience a chronic liver infection, which can become liver cancer or cirrhosis later in life. Whether or not a person will develop a chronic infection typically depends on the age at which a person becomes infected with hepatitis B. Children are much more at risk than adults.

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