Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is one of the most significant health problems affecting the liver; it is also the most serious type of viral hepatitis. Hepatitis B virus infection can cause chronic liver diseases and can put infected individuals at high risks of death from liver cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
An estimated two billion individuals have been infected with hepatitis B virus and more than 350 million of them have chronic liver infections.
The symptoms of hepatitis B virus can last for several weeks. These include yellowing of the eyes (jaundice) and skin, dark urine, fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pains, and nausea. HBV can also cause chronic liver infection leading to the development of liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
How is HBV spread?
Hepatitis B virus is spread between people by contact with the blood or other body fluids of the infected person. Body fluids can be semen or vaginal fluid. The modes of transmission for how is HBV spread are the same for the modes of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), however, HBV is around 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV. Unlike HIV, HBV can survive outside your body for at least seven days. So long as the virus is still active, it can still cause infection if it enters the body of an uninfected person.
Another fact you need to know about how is HBV spread is that the virus can be transmitted from among family members within households through the contact of the virus with cuts and open sores of the skin or mucous membrane with secretions or fluids like saliva containing hepatitis B virus. Two other primary methods of transmission reveal the pervasiveness of chronic HBV infection in given areas. Drug abuse and unprotected sex are the primary modes of transmission. Shared needles can cause the transfer of the virus from one individual to another. Inflected blood in needles can be transferred to an uninfected individual. With this, he will get the hepatitis B virus. Unprotected sex and multiple sex partners can also cause the acquisition of the HBV. Body secretions are carriers of the virus. Semen or vaginal fluids of infected individuals can cause you to get infected. Kissing that involves the transfer of saliva of an infected person is another mode of transmission.
How is HBV spread in developing countries?
HBV can be spread through the following:
-HBV infected mothers transmit the disease to their newborns
-Early childhood infections, wherein a child gets infected through interpersonal contact with HBV patients
How is HBV spread in developed countries like the United States and Western Europe is different from the modes mentioned for developing countries. In these developed countries, majority of the infections are transmitted during the young adulthood of patients through their sexual activities and drug abuse. HBV is also known to be a major infectious occupational hazard for health workers. Hepatitis B virus is not known to be spread in food and water and cannot be easily spread in workplaces.