What is Hepatitis B?

The Hepatitis virus is commonly known as jaundice. Viral Hepatitis is an infectious disease affecting the liver causing widespread damage and even leading to necrosis (death of liver tissue). Basically, viral hepatitis is caused by either of the five known straits of the Hepatitis virus.

The five known types are:

Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis D Virus (HDV). Hepatitis E Virus (HEV). All these viruses give rise to illnesses nearly similar in their expression. The most common source of infection in humans is the Hepatitis B Virus, since it is most potent in human blood and liver tissue.

Spread Considering the spread of infection, the virus, once it enters the blood stream, is virtually (present in all body fluids.) It can be potentially transmitted through the infected patients’ feces, blood, saliva, semen, vaginal fluids and urine.

Modes of transmission

  • Through infected blood (during transfusions).
  • Through intravenous injection, using infected needles.
  • Handling excreta of infected individuals.
  • Drug abusers who share needles.

Tattooing or acupuncture can also spread infection if inadequately sterilized needles are used. The means of non–parental transmission are uncertain but discovery of HBSAG (Hepatitis B surface antigen) or viral DNA in body fluids such as semen, urine and vaginal secretions suggests various mechanisms. Children are most commonly affected and conditions of overcrowding and poor sanitation facilitate its spread. Asymptomatic individuals and some patients with chronic liver disease my carry the virus for a lifetime.