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What is Hepatitis B?

hepatitis b virus

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a viral infection that infects the liver and requires direct contact with infected blood or other body fluids for transmission.

Symptoms of hepatitis B generally appear in 90 days and last a few weeks. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, discolored (clay) bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice (yellowish skin or eyes).1

About half of infected adults and children over the age of five will have symptoms of the disease, while many children who under the age of five will not.2

Most acute hepatitis B infections do not persist and become chronic, but if the infection lasts six months or longer and persists without being cleared, it could eventually lead to chronic liver disease, liver cancer and death.3 

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1 CDC. Viral Hepatitis – Hepatitis B Information – Symptoms. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.

2 CDC. Viral Hepatitis – Hepatitis B Information – Hepatitis B FAQs for Health Professionals – Transmission, Symptoms, and Treatments. Revised Aug. 4, 2016.

3 CDC. Viral Hepatitis - Hepatitis B information. Revised May 31, 2017.

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