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Hepatitis B is caused by a virus. The virus causes swelling and irritation in the liver and makes it difficult for the liver to function normally.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread by semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, blood, or body fluids from an infected person. The virus can pass from these fluids to your body through an open cut in your skin.
A woman with hepatitis can also pass HBV to her baby during childbirth.
Acute infection may not need any treatment since it usually goes away on its own.
Chronic hepatitis B may be treated with a combination of different antiviral medications. All medications do not work the same in all people. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Your doctor may also ask that you:
Avoid certain medications, dietary supplements, and herbs
Contact recent sexual partners so they can be tested and/or treated
There is a
for hepatitis B that is available for adults. This vaccine is usually given as a series of three injections. In addition, the vaccine is routinely given to newborns. Children and teens who were not vaccinated as babies can still receive the shots.
Baker CJ, Pickerling LK, Chilton L, et al. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2011.
Ann Intern Med.
Hepatitis B. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated February 17, 2012. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Hepatitis B information for health professionals.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
Updated May 16, 2012. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Hepatitis B. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated February 4, 2014. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Vaccine information statement: hepatitis B vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated June 18, 2013. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Workowski KA, Berman S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.