Hepatitis B is one of the deadliest virus infections out there killing more than 780,000 people annually. It includes people dying of cirrhosis and liver cancer among other complications of Hepatitis B infection. Since Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver without many symptoms, it is important to treat the condition as early as possible. If left untreated for a period of time, it can become life-threatening and can lead to wider infections.
Hepatitis B Transmission
If a person is exposed to someone with Hepatitis B infection, then he will get infected. Hepatitis B virus can survive without a host for up to 7 days and once it enters the body, it has an incubation period of 30 to 180 days. If it gets detected within the first few weeks, the chance of treating it and preventing it from becoming chronic infection is bigger.
Why do we need to undergo diagnosis and testing?
- To prevent the infection from becoming chronic
- To help the body fight the infection and clear the body from without taking too many drugs
- To prevent bigger damage especially to the liver
- To screen children from possible Hepatitis B infection
- To confirm early diagnosis
- To distinguish acute from chronic Hepatitis B infection
Hepatitis B Prevention
Anti-Hepatitis B infection vaccine is the most effective way of preventing possible Hepatitis B infection. Newborns are recommended to have this vaccine within 24 hours and are followed by two to three more dosages afterward.
- A newborn can have three dose schedules of the Hepatitis B vaccine. The first dose will be given 24 hours upon birth, while the next doses will be given along with other vaccines such as DTP vaccine (diphtheria, pertussis, whooping cough, and tetanus).
- A newborn can have four dose schedules with the first one given within 24 hours of birth while the other three will be given along with routine vaccines such as MMR and DTP.
- If you haven’t had your Hepatitis B vaccination and you are below 18 years of age, you can still avail of the Hepatitis B vaccine.
According to the World Health Organization, the Hepatitis B vaccine that we are using today can protect a person from Hepatitis B infection for 20 years or more.
Who should have regular Hepatitis B Testing?
If you have not taken or completed your Hepatitis B vaccination, then you should seek Hepatitis B testing regularly. In addition, if you are any of these or you are in one of these situations, an HBV test is a must:
- Patients undergoing blood transfusion
- Patients who are undergoing dialysis
- People who worked in prisons
- People who use injections in administering their drug or just uses injection for some reasons
- People with active sex life and have multiple partners
- Travelers who don’t have their Hepatitis B vaccination
- Health care workers
- People who work in a company where they interact with a lot of people like contact centers
- People who are living with a family member who tested positive for Hepatitis B infection
- People who had Hepatitis B infection and was already cleared