Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B virus.

How is Hepatitis B spread?

Hepatitis B is spread through direct contact of infected blood, semen or other body fluids. This can happen through sexual contact, sharing of needles or other drug equipment or from mother to baby at birth.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?

Children under the age of five rarely experience any symptoms. Approximately 70 per cent of adults infected with the Hepatitis B virus will experience symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Tenderness in the upper right side of the stomach area
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Clay coloured stools
  • Yellow skin or eyes

What are the risks of Hepatitis B?

About 90 per cent of adults infected with Hepatitis B recover within six months. However about 90 per cent of infected babies and 10 per cent of infected adults will develop chronic infection for life. Chronic Hepatitis B can cause cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and death. A person with chronic Hepatitis B also has higher risk of being infected with another viral Hepatitis.

How can I prevent getting Hepatitis B?  

The best way to not get Hepatitis B is to get immunized. The Hepatitis B vaccine is safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease. When you get immunized you help to protect others as well.

Who should get the Hepatitis B vaccine?

The Hepatitis B vaccine is provided free to:

  • Babies at two, four and six months of age as part of their routine immunizations
  • Those born in 1980 or later that have never received the vaccine or the recommended number of doses for their age
  • Children and adults at high risk for infection

Get immunized against Hepatitis B by making an appointment with your doctor, pharmacist (for those 5 years and older) or Public Health.

To book an immunization appointment with Public Health:

Residents of Fraser East (Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope), call 604-702-4906

Residents in any other area of Fraser Health, call 604-476-7087 

Resources

For more information about Hepatitis B and the Hepatitis B vaccine, go to:

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