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Hepatitis B – Cause and Prevention

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TNI Bureau: Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids such as menstrual blood from an infected person enter another person’s body, usually in one of the following ways:

• Sexual contact.

•Sharing needles.

•A newborn baby can get the virus from his or her mother during delivery when the baby comes in contact with the mother’s body fluids in the birth canal.

•HBV may be spread when needles used for body piercing or tattooing is not properly sterilized and HBV-infected blood enters a person’s skin.

•Razors can spread HBV if they carry blood from a person who is infected with the virus.

•Hepatitis has many other remote causes such as long-term alcohol use, fatty deposits in the liver, and exposure to certain industrial chemicals.

Prevention:

One can protect himself from Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection by avoiding contact with the body fluids of someone whose health and sexual history are not known to you. To prevent infection:

•Use a condom when you have sex.

•Do not share needles.

•Do not share toothbrushes or razors.

•Wear gloves if you have to touch blood.

•The hepatitis B vaccine is the most effective way to prevent infection with HBV.

If you have had sex with someone who has hepatitis B and you have not received all doses of hepatitis B vaccine, you should receive a shot of HBIG-in addition to continuing the vaccine series-within 14 days of being exposed to HBV.

The theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day on July 28 was ‘It’s closer than you think.’ According to the WHO, worldwide around two billion people are infected with the Hepatitis B virus and 6, 00,000 die each year due to its consequences. In India, approximately 80 million people harbor the hepatitis B virus, which results in around 2.5 lakh deaths annually due to the disease.

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