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Hepatitis B: Symptoms, transmission, spread and consequences

The Hepatitis B, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), a potentially dangerous virus because it can survive up to 7 days outside the body, time in which still has the ability to infect a person.

Chronic hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B can have serious consequences for health, leading to a possible chronic liver disease and a high risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Since 1982 it has a Hepatitis B vaccine, with a level of effectiveness in preventing 95% disease.

Hepatitis B can be acute or chronic. In the first case the hepatitis B lasts for about 6 months; in the second case, however, hepatitis lasts six months, because the immune system is unable to fight the virus, the infection can become chronic.


In general, even though symptoms may vary from one person to another, the viral infection of the liver causes fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, and emotional level, apathy and unwillingness to daily obligations. Other symptoms that may occur are nausea, abdominal pain, headaches and change of skin tone (becoming more yellow).

The disease does not always manifest itself clearly, the symptoms can be confused with other pathologies in the early stages, especially in winter, when the probability, for example, of getting the flu is frequent, a disorder that also usually accompanied by bones pain, fatigue or fever. Other signs that might warn us of a liver problem is increasing the amount of urine, with a more intense color.

Transmission and spread

How hepatitis B transmitted? HBV virus can be transmitted through blood, urine, sperm or other bodily fluids. Another possibility of infection is the sharing of syringes, because the hepatitis B virus is easily transmitted through needles contaminated with infected blood. Even accidental punctures with dirty needles can be a concern for health workers.

The pregnant women can transmit the virus to their babies during childbirth. Infection is also possible in the breast-feeding.

There is something to keep in mind is that around 10% of patients who are infected with the virus do not develop the disease, although they become carriers and potential source of infection to other people.

It is important to diagnose the disease as early as possible to slow down its evolution and liver damage. To diagnose the disease used some blood tests. In particular, tests were conducted to determine if we can transmit HBV to detect the presence of antibodies against the virus, to see if there was an infection in the past or if you currently have the disease.

Logically, if we know the mode of transmission of hepatitis B, it will be easier to avoid the risk of contagion and take the necessary precautions (use protection during sex, do not re-use needles…).

In the case of doctors, nurses and health workers should take special precautions, such as wearing gloves, masks and other protection to prevent passage of the pathogen from an infected person to a healthy one.


An infection of the liver caused by the HBV virus can lead to serious consequences. Among them, cirrhosis, an inflammatory reaction that results in scarring of the liver tissue. This threatens the ability of the body to function properly. It can also cause acute liver failure which, in some cases, may require a liver transplant to survive. Chronic hepatitis B may also involve kidney problems, inflammation of the blood vessels, vasculitis and liver cancer.