Top factors that contribute to Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B, unlike Hepatitis A, is a chronic and life-threatening infection of the liver. WHO statistics indicate that only 0.7% of the population in the country is infected, and this success has been due to vaccinations that offer 98% -100% protection against Hepatitis B. Once infected, Hepatitis B can be acute or chronic.
The impact of acute Hepatitis B is likely to last for less than 6 months and the infected will see improvements in their condition with medication and time. Chronic Hepatitis B can last for more than 6 months. Those affected can be young or old and are at risk of diseases like failure, cirrhosis, and cancer of the liver.
Total recovery from both acute and chronic Hepatitis B is possible, but the damage caused to the liver and the impact will remain throughout one’s lifetime. Recovery for adults is near total; however, in children, it could lead to a chronic condition requiring long term treatment and in some cases, some attention even after recovery. There is no cure for Hepatitis B, and if you are infected, you must take all precautions to make sure that you do not pass on this infection to others.
Some of the immediate symptoms of Hepatitis B are
- joint pain,
- loss of appetite, and
The symptoms can take one to two months to show in adults and in many cases, and there could be no symptoms seen in children.
Main causes of Hepatitis B transmission
Hepatitis B virus is commonly found in bodily fluids like blood and semen. Any transmission will happen only when we come into contact with these. Note that Hepatitis B is not airborne and does not spread through cough or sneeze.
- One of the most common causes of transmission is from mother to child during birth. This is called prenatal transmission. If the mother is infected, the newborn child can be vaccinated to prevent an infection. So, it is important and mandatory in most countries that the mother is tested for Hepatitis B when she is pregnant.
- Horizontal transmission of Hepatitis B is caused when an uninfected child under the age of 5 is exposed to the blood of an infected child. In both cases, children infected with Hepatitis B before the age of 5 are likely to inherit a chronic condition that may go undetected for years and can sometimes show symptoms only when there is serious damage to the liver.
- Needlestick injuries are another major source of Hepatitis B transmission. Used needles that have come into contact with the blood of infected people when used on others can pass on the infection. People who have had tattoos and piercings are, thus, at a greater risk. This can be prevented by insisting on new syringes and getting these done with certified artists. Those using intravenous substances are at a higher risk of getting infected. Reuse of needles and unclean razors that are shared between people too can cause the infection.
- Unsafe sexual practices are another major cause of spreading of Hepatitis B. Infected persons who indulge in unprotected sex can pass on the infection to their partners.
- Although it happens in the rarest of the rare and in minuscule cases, the infection can be passed on during surgical procedures if contaminated blood is used.
The cause for worry is that Hepatitis B virus can stay outside of the human body for about seven days. If it can enter the body of a person who has not received a vaccination, it can infect them. So, vaccination that has proved extremely effective and successful is the safest route to the prevention of Hepatitis B.