Hepatitis Prevention and Treatment

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Immunoglobulin should be administered as soon as possible within 72 hours after a needle stick injury and within 14 days after sexual exposure. All women are tested for hepatitis B infection during pregnancy.


If a mother is found to have hepatitis B infection, her baby is given immunoglobulin and a dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth. These infections or diseases are commonly referred to as 'notifiable conditions'. Hepatitis B also called hep B is a virus that is found in blood and other body fluids including vaginal fluid, semen and breast milk.

It is highly infectious and causes inflammation of the liver. Most adults, but not all, who become infected with hepatitis B are able to clear the virus without any problems. However most babies and young children infected with hepatitis B are unable to clear the virus and will develop a chronic hepatitis infection. Hepatitis B is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world and is a serious public health concern. Hepatitis B is a vaccine preventable illness.

There are around people living with hepatitis B in Australia. The majority belong to one or more of the following groups:. Symptoms can take up to 6 months to appear, and are likely to make you sick for between 1 and 3 months. If you do get symptoms, these are the most common:. If someone has hepatitis B for less than 6 months it is called an acute infection.

Most people who get hepatitis B as adults will only have an acute infection and recover from it. If you have acute hepatitis B, you might not experience any symptoms. If the infection lasts for longer than 6 months it is called chronic hepatitis B. Most people with chronic hepatitis B contracted it as babies or young children. Many people with chronic hepatitis B have no symptoms, but if they appear they are similar to the symptoms of acute hepatitis B.

Chronic hepatitis B is a lifelong illness. Chronic hepatitis B it is a lifelong illness. Advanced liver disease can lead to complications including liver failure and liver cancer, and unfortunately, can lead to death. Treatment for hepatitis B aims to avoid these outcomes.

Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment of Hepatitis B and C

Treatment aims to stop or slow as much as possible, the increase in numbers of hepatitis B viruses. This decreases the risk of serious liver disease developing later in life and makes it possible for the liver to repair some of the damage and to work better. Many people with acute hepatitis B have no symptoms and may not even know they have hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for at least 7 days. During that time, the virus can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who is not infected. You should see your GP or local health centre as soon as possible to discuss your options. You will need to have a blood test and in some cases you may start treatment immediately to stop your body becoming infected with Hepatitis B. Management may include hepatitis B immunoglobulin, an injection of plasma which contains high levels of antibodies to help prevent hepatitis B infection from developing in a person who has been exposed.

If your body has naturally cleared the hepatitis B virus, then you will be immune. This means you cannot get hepatitis B again. All of the tests used to diagnose hepatitis B are blood tests.

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Some indicate different stages of the illness or immunity. The following list shows the different tests available, and what a positive result indicates for each of them. What are you looking for? Close Healthy living for you and your family How to make healthy choices a part of every day life.

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Improving access to prevention, testing and treatment for hepatitis

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Top tips for healthy living Top tips for healthy living Healthy living resources Winter wellness. Hepatitis B is a notifiable condition 1 How hepatitis B is spread Hepatitis B is spread when infectious body fluids blood, saliva, semen and vaginal fluid come into contact with body tissues beneath the skin for example, through needle puncture or broken skin or mucous membranes the thin moist lining of many parts of the body such as the nose, mouth, throat and genitals. In Australia the most likely ways people will have become infected are: mother-to-baby transmission at or around the time of birth, particularly for people born outside Australia in countries where hepatitis B is common, and in remote Aboriginal communities child-to-child contact usually through contact between open sores or wounds, particularly for people born outside Australia in countries where hepatitis B is common, and in remote Aboriginal communities.

Hepatitis C and the Cure

A contact is any person who has been close enough to an infected person to be at risk of having acquired the infection from that person. Other ways of contracting hepatitis B include: sharing equipment used for injecting drugs unprotected sex anal and vaginal tattooing and body piercing with unsterilised equipment household contact including sharing razors, hair clippers and toothbrushes accidental needle stick or blood splash to broken skin or mucous membrane the thin moist lining of many parts of the body such as the eyes, nose, mouth, throat and genitals.

Symptoms, if they occur, may include: fever loss of appetite nausea and vomiting abdominal pain especially in the right upper abdomen yellow skin or eyes jaundice see image dark coloured urine and pale faeces muscle and joint pain rash. Diagnosis Both acute and chronic hepatitis B infections are diagnosed by blood tests serology and PCR polymerase chain reaction tests in a pathology laboratory.

Incubation period time between becoming infected and developing symptoms Between 45 to days, and rarely from as early as 2 weeks to as late as 9 months. Infectious period time during which an infected person can infect others From up to 3 months before symptoms develop until the infected person eliminates the virus from their body. Treatment Antiviral treatment is available and is of benefit to some people with chronic hepatitis B infection. Prevention Exclusion from childcare, preschool, school or work is not necessary.

Post exposure prophylaxis treatment to prevent disease Hepatitis B immunoglobulin is a solution made from blood products containing a high level of antibodies specific to the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B immunoglobulin and vaccine are also offered to non-immune people who have had close physical contact with a person known to be infected with hepatitis B in the following situations: after needle sharing or needle stick injury after sexual exposure.

Frequently asked questions What is hepatitis B? Who is at risk of getting hepatitis B? How do you get hepatitis B? What are the symptoms for hepatitis B? What is acute hepatitis B? What is chronic hepatitis B? What happens to people with chronic hepatitis B? How is hepatitis B treated?

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  7. Can a person spread hepatitis B and not know it? How long does the hepatitis B virus survive outside the body?

    How hepatitis B is spread

    What if I am exposed to hepatitis B, what should I do? What tests are there for hepatitis B? Antibodies are substances the body produces in response to a virus, and show that at some point in your life, you were exposed to the virus.

    How hepatitis C is spread

    If the rapid test comes back postitive for hepatitis C antibodies, a Chase Brexton provider will have you get a confirmation test to see if the virus is still present in your bloodstream. Your treatment will include a team approach: your provider, a pharmacist, and a care coordinator will work closely with you.

    The medication program will take about 2 to 3 months. And your team will continue to follow up with you after treatment to make sure you are doing well. By following Chase Brexton's hepatitis C treatment program, you have a high chance of being cured.

    Awareness and education key to hepatitis prevention and treatment

    Not all patients will be cured. If that is the case, your care team will find the best solutions and treatment options to help you lead a healthier life. Call to get into care today. Chase Brexton Health Care Mt. Vernon Center's fantastic team includes medical, dental, behavioral, pharmacy, and social service professionals. Our services include:. Skip to main content. AIDS Walk.