Hepatitis B (hidden killer)
1. What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a liver inflammation disease cause by virus hepatitis B. It is estimated that 248 million people worldwide were infected and 600,000 died yearly from the complication of this disease.
2. How is hepatitis B spread?
Hepatitis B is most passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth, unsafe sex, especially male-to-male sex, sharing needles and blood transfusions.
3. What are the complications of Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B causes many complications in both acute and chronic, including:
• Acute fulminant hepatitis (Fulminant hepatitis)
• Liver cancer (HCC)
4. What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B doesn’t have any specific symptoms, but in acute phase it can causes some nonspecific symptoms: jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), fever, fatigue and abdominal pain. And some complication symptoms of advance stage liver disease: in late also manifest as symptoms of chronic hepatitis complications in the acute stage, such as: abdominal distension, swelling of the legs, blood vomiting (Hematemesis), jaundice (Yellow skin and eyes), etc.
5. How can we know if we have Hepatitis B?
The only way to know if we have hepatitis B is get tested.
6. Can we prevent Hepatitis B infection?
We can actually prevent Hepatitis B by getting the hepatitis B vaccine, which is the best way to prevent this infection, especially for newborns. Mothers with hepatitis B should consult a health worker before delivery to prevent mother-to-child transmission during childbirth. Use a condom every time you have sex and avoid injections and drug use.
7. Can Hepatitis B be cured?
In adults, most acute infections can be cured spontaneously by symptomatic treatment and follow-up with doctor. Patients with chronic hepatitis require antiretroviral therapy and long-term follow-up with a physician to prevent serious complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer (HCC).
Article by: MD. UM Sokchay Gastroenterologist, Khmer-Soviet friendship hospital, Phnom Penh
Source: Hepatitis B General Information. www.cdc,gov/hepatitis, 2016