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Hepatitis B

Features/Symptoms

Same as Hepatitis A (usually recurrent). The symptoms are often compared to flu.

Progression

Symptoms develop within 30-180 days of exposure to the virus. The disease attacks the liver of the host. It can cause permanent liver damage, liver cancer and even death.

Causes

The hepatitis B virus is known as a blood-borne virus that is transmitted via blood transfusion, sexual transmission, exchange in body fluids and sharing of needles. Semen and saliva also carry the virus. The virus can be transmitted whenever any of these body fluids come in contact with broken skin in the mouth, genital organs or rectum.

Treatment/Management

This is treated symptomatically. Acute hepatitis B usually goes away by itself and does not require medical treatment. If very severe, symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea may require treatment to restore fluids and electrolytes. There are no medications that can prevent acute hepatitis B from becoming chronic.