Liver Disease Hepatitis B

2017-07-18 11:54:37 0 By: Kunal Times Read: 294
Liver Disease Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is a major global health problem. It can cause chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer.

A vaccine against hepatitis B has been available since 1982. The vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and the development of chronic disease and liver cancer due to hepatitis B.

Symptoms

Most people do not experience any symptoms during the acute infection phase. However, some people have acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. A small subset of persons with acute hepatitis can develop acute liver failure, which can lead to death.

In some people, the hepatitis B virus can also cause a chronic liver infection that can later develop into cirrhosis (a scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

Who is at risk for chronic disease?

The likelihood that infection becomes chronic depends upon the age at which a person becomes infected. Children less than 6 years of age who become infected with the hepatitis B virus are the most likely to develop chronic infections.

In infants and children:

80–90% of infants infected during the first year of life develop chronic infections; and

30–50% of children infected before the age of 6 years develop chronic infections.

In adults

less than 5% of otherwise healthy persons who are infected as adults will develop chronic infection; and

20–30% of adults who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis and/or liver cancer.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. Therefore, care is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea.

About 1% of persons living with HBV infection (2.7 million people) are also infected with HIV. Conversely, the global prevalence of HBV infection in HIV-infected persons is 7.4%. Since 2015, WHO has recommended treatment for everyone diagnosed with HIV infection, regardless of the stage of disease. Tenofovir, which is included in the treatment combinations recommended in first intention against HIV infection, is also active against HBV.

There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. Therefore, care is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea.

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