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Hepatitis B

Also called: HBV

Summary

Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. One type, hepatitis B, is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B spreads by contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluid. An infected woman can give hepatitis B to her baby at birth.

If you get HBV, you may feel as if you have the flu. You may also have jaundice, a yellowing of skin and eyes, dark-colored urine, and pale bowel movements. Some people have no symptoms at all. A blood test can tell if you have it. HBV usually gets better on its own after a few months. If it does not get better, it is called chronic HBV, which lasts a lifetime. Chronic HBV can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure, or liver cancer.

There is a vaccine for HBV. It requires three shots. All babies should get the vaccine, but older children and adults can get it too. If you travel to countries where Hepatitis B is common, you should get the vaccine.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Diagnosis and Tests

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
  • (Hepatitis B Foundation)

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Hepatitis B Foundation)
  • (Hepatitis B Foundation) - PDF

Living With

  • (Hepatitis B Foundation) - PDF
  • (Immunization Action Coalition) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (AIDS.gov)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (AIDSinfo) Also in
  • (Hepatitis B Foundation)
  • (Stanford University, Asian Liver Center) - PDF
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Hepatitis B Foundation)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF

Health Check Tools

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases)

Statistics and Research

  • (National Center for Health Statistics)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (Hepatitis B Foundation)

Find an Expert

  • Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (Hepatitis B Foundation)
  • (Immunization Action Coalition) - PDF
  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (Immunization Action Coalition) - PDF

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation)

Men

  • (Immunization Action Coalition) - PDF Also in

Women

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF

Patient Handouts

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