What Is Hepatitis B and What Causes It?

Q:
What is hepatitis b and what causes it?

A:

Definition

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). A chronic hepatitis B, which lasts more than six months, increases your risk of developing liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis, which is a condition that permanently creates scars of the liver.

A vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, but there’s no cure for it. If you’re infected, taking certain precautions can help prevent spreading the virus to others.

Causes

Hepatitis B infection is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) which is passed from person to person through blood, semen or other body fluids, excluding sneezing or coughing. It can spread by:

  • Sexual contact if you have unprotected sex with someone who is infected.
  • Sharing of needles.
  • Accidental needle sticks.
  • Mother to child. However, the newborn can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected in almost all cases.
* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.