Hepatitis B

What Is It?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B is hepatitis caused by the hepatitis B virus.

Hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with infected blood. Specifically, hepatitis B may be spread through:

  • Direct contact with the blood of an infected person

  • Unprotected sexual activity with an infected person

  • Needle sharing among intravenous drug users

  • Sharing razors or other personal items with an infected person

  • Being pierced or tattooed with contaminated instruments

  • Blood transfusions (extremely rare in the United States because of improved testing)

  • Childbirth, when the virus is passed from mother to child

Immunization with the hepatitis B vaccine has reduced the number of hepatitis B cases in the United States.

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