Kelina Hospital, 123, Third Avenue,
Gwarinpa, Abuja, Nigeria
kelina@kelinahospital.com +234(0) 8033 644 644, 08129908324, 07016837070

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Hepatitis B Infection: Causes And Infection


Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is one of the five types of viral hepatitis. The others are hepatitis A, C, D & E. However, hepatitis B and C are the ones most likely to become chronic if not properly treated.

Hepatitis B is highly contagious, it spreads through contact with infected blood and other bodily fluids. Some poor social habits and other possible ways of contracting HBV includes:

• Sharing injection needles • Sharing shaving stick or shaving knife that has been used on another person. • Deep kissing, if there is a wound in both surfaces. • Blood transfusion, using poorly screened blood. • Sharing bathing sponges if there is abrasion on the skin. • Sharing instruments or utensils used for ablution if an infected person has also used them. • Sharing tooth brushes. • Mother to child transmission during birth • Accidental needle prick with contaminated needle • Unprotected sexual contact with a person with HBV.

Transmission of the virus may also occur particularly in unvaccinated men who had sex with men and heterosexual persons with multiple sex partners or contact with sex workers.

Infection in adulthood leads to chronic hepatitis in some cases. Sometimes people who have HBV may not know and symptoms may not appear until during the acute infection stage. The incubation period of hepatitis B virus is 75 days on coverage, but can vary from 30 to 180 days. The virus can be detected within 30 to 60 days after infection. Some of the symptoms associated with HBV include yellowish eyes, dark urine, loss of appetite, mild fever, clay-colored stool, easy tiredness.

TREATMENT: There is no specific treatment, cure, or medication for an acute HBV infection, supportive care will depend on the symptoms.

PREVENTION: A vaccine against HBV has been available since 1982.This is a series of three injections, The CDC recommends that all children receive a birth dose of HBV vaccine and complete the series by 6 to 18 months of age. Individuals who must also receive the vaccine include all health workers, individuals with multiple sex partners, dialysis patients, and recipients of solid organ transplant. It is best for everyone to be vaccinated against HBV infection. The complete vaccine series induces protective antibody levels in over 95% of people vaccinated.

Hepatitis B test is done in Kelina Hospital’s Laboratory using Chemo-illuminiscence technology with an expensive machine called Cobas. This method is far more reliable than dipsticks which are commonly used everywhere. There is a vaccine against HBV infection which is available in our pharmacy. Recently, we had one patient who tested negative with Test Strip but positive when we used our new machine.

Hepatitis B is more infectious, more deadly and perhaps more prevalent than HIV, but funnily, people are more scared of HIV than HBV. Fortunately, it is preventable through vaccination. Take advantage of this. You never know who you will end up marrying. So protect yourself against future exposure.

You can contact our Laboratory on Phone: 08129908320, 07088699081 or e-mail: medlab@kelinahospital.com

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