Hepatitis B

1. What is hepatitis B?Hepatitis B is a serious disease that affects the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause:Acute (short-term) illness. This can lead to:

  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • tiredness
  • jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
  • pain in muscles, joints, and stomach

Acute illness is more common among adults. Children who become infected usually do not have acute illness.

Chronic (long-term) infection. Some people go on to develop chronic HBV infection. This can be very serious, and often leads to:

  • liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • liver cancer
  • death

Chronic infection is more common among infants and children than among adults. People who are infected can spread HBV to others, even if they don’t appear sick.

Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. A person can become infected by:

    • contact with a mother’s blood and body fluids at the time of birth
    • contact with blood and body fluids through breaks in the skin such as bites, cuts, or sores; – contact with objects that could have blood or body fluids on them such as toothbrushes or razors
    • having unprotected sex with an infected person
    • sharing needles when injecting drugs
    • being stuck with a used needle on the job.


2.  Why get Hepatitis B Vaccine?

Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, and the serious consequences of HBV infection, including liver cancer and cirrhosis.

3. When to give Hepatitis B Vaccine?

All children should get their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth and should have completed the vaccine series by 6-18 months of age.

4. Who should NOT get hepatitis B vaccine?

Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine should not get another dose.

5. What are the possible side effects from Hepatitis B vaccine?

Hepatitis B is a very safe vaccine. Most people do not have any problems with it.

The following mild problems have been reported:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Fever

Severe problems are extremely rare.

6. What to do if there is any moderate or severe reaction?

Call the doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away

“Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and prevention, Indian Academy of pediatrics”