HEPATITIS B QUICK FACTS

1. Worldwide, 1 out of 3 people have been infected with the hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis B is one of the most common and serious diseases in the world. According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, there are approximately 400 million chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) worldwide. Over 75 percent of these carriers reside in the Asia-Pacific region. 1 million people die each year from hepatitis B virus infection,from acute and chronic liver disease, making it the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. Nearly 300,000 people become infected each year with the Hepatitis B virus. Of that number, one out of 10 becomes a chronic carrier.

2. HBV is 100 times more infectious than the AIDS virus. In the U.S.,approximately 2 health care workers are infected each day with HBV. Yet, hepatitis B can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. For the 400 million people worldwide who are already chronic carriers of HBV, the vaccine is of no use.

3. Part of the natural history that has only recently been appreciated is spontaneous reactivation of chronic infection. This occurs in HBeAg-negative, anti-HBe-positive HBV carriers who had previously seroconverted into a nonreplicative phase, many years ago. The inactive virus spontaneously becomes active again, with the re-emergence of HBeAg and HBV-DNA, with or without loss of anti-HBe. There is usually a significant spike in serum ALT activity, sometimes associated with symptomatic'acute' hepatitis, manifested by jaundice, nausea, flu-like illness and fever. Spontaneous reactivation may occur in 15% to 20% of previously nonreplicative patients.

4. The greatest risk of chronic Hepatitis B lies in developing chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. About one fourth of chronic Hepatitis B sufferers will develop one or the other of these diseases. Worldwide, 16% to 59% of carriers have hepatic inflammation and viral replication. This group is at the highest risk for developing progressive liver disease. Worldwide, Hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer Once cirrhosis is established, the diagnosis of hepatic decompensation is rather straighforward. Studies suggest the annual rate patients with cirrhosis will decompensate ranges from 3.8% to 9.5%.

5. People at HIGH RISK for becoming infected with HBV:

Sexually active adults and teenagers
Health, Dental, and Emergency Care personnel
Adoptive families
Injecting drug users
People who live with HBV Carriers
Children born to mothers who are HBV carriers
Men Having Sex with Men
People who get tattoos, ear piercing or body piercing
People who travel to high-risk countries - High risk countries include places in which over two percent of the population are HBV carriers, which include Asia, Africa, South America, and Eastern and Mediterranean Europe.

6. Hepatitis B virus can be transmitted through any infected person's mucus membranes if you come into contact with infected body fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, and blood. However, the highest concentration of the virus is found in the blood.

7. Exposure - You need to receive Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) within 2 weeks of exposure. HBIG differs from the vaccine, which you also need to receive. The Hepatitis B vaccine is given in a series of 3 injections; one at zero months, one at 3 months, and again at 6 months.YOU MUST COMPLETE THE VACCINE SERIES AND RECEIVE ALL THREE SHOTS!

8. The vaccine provides immunity to about 90% of the adult population who complete the series, and about 95% of vaccinated children.

9. Children are now routinely offered the Hepatitis B vaccine as part of their immunization series.

10. Hepatitis B is the most preventable STD (sexually transmitted disease) as there is a vaccine for prevention. Didn't think of it as an STD did you?

11. Check with your local health department for vaccine information. In many places, you can receive the vaccine free of charge! Even if you have to pay a little for it, take it from me that it is well worth it not to get this horrible disease.

12.HBV infection has been linked etiologically with several extrahepatic manifestations. These may be caused by deposition of complexes of viral antigen and antibody related to the surface, core and the e proteins of the virus. These conditions include:polyartertitis nodosa, glomerulonephritis, mucocutaneous vasculitis and essential mixed cryoglobulinemia (although this is more often related to hepatitis C).

13. Practice safe sex, know your partner's sexual history, practice good hygiene such as good handwashing after coming into contact with anyone's body fluids, GET THE VACCINE!

14.The following is a list of some of the possible symptoms of HBV infection.

HBV causes no symptoms at all in about 50 percent of cases.

Approximately 49 percent of the people who are infected will have some symptoms. The usual signs and symptoms of HBV may include fever, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. When infected with HBV, many people think they have the flu and do not attribute their symptoms to HBV infection.

A very small number, about one percent, develop life-threatening acute fulminant hepatitis from the virus. These people may suddenly collapse with fatigue, have yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) and develop swelling in their abdomen. Acute fulminant hepatitis develops very suddenly and acutely, and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

About 90 percent of the total number of people infected with HBV will develop antibodies against the disease and will totally clear the virus from their bodies. Although they may experience some symptoms, these people will recover without complication.

Hepatitis B Foundation web site(click)
700 East Butler Avenue
Doylestown, PA 18901-2697
Phone: 215-489-4900
EMAIL: info@hepb.org

HEPATITIS RESOURCE SITES
(click here)

HEPATITIS B MAILING LISTThis link will explain the mailing list process. Or, you can subscribe by sending a blank email message by clicking hereSIGNON Great global support list for us Hep B folks! Loaded with useful info and compassion.Co-list owners: Sheree Martin, Michelle K., and Ed P.

For those who want only information posts, and do not have time for the "Support" element of our work on the HB list we now offer another option, which many may prefer, an information only option. This new list, called HBV_Research,is provided, again at our own expense, as a parallel additional service to the main Hepatitis B Information and Support List. However, only the list moderators may post to the HBV-R list, no discussions take place, and most importantly - all messages are archived on a publicly accessible web site. If you wish to look up archived information posts, please visit: HBV RESEARCH ARCHIVES To subscribe send a blank email message by clicking here JOIN


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