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Hepatitis  

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Definition  

Hepatitis B is a liver disease. It can be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis B usually goes away on its own and may not need treatment.

Chronic hepatitis B is an infection that lasts more than six months. Chronic infection can lead to other health problems. Hepatitis B is treated with antiviral medications.

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Causes  

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus. The virus causes swelling and irritation in the liver and makes it difficult for the liver to function normally.

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread by semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, blood, or body fluids from an infected person. The virus can pass from these fluids to your body through an open cut in your skin.

A woman with hepatitis can also pass HBV to her baby during childbirth.

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Risk Factors  

Factors that may increase your chance of getting hepatitis B include:

  • Illicit drug injection use, especially when sharing needles
  • Unprotected sexual contact, especially with multiple partners
  • Sharing a residence and/or personal items with someone who has HBV
  • Stay in hospital or long-term care facility
  • Hemodialysis treatment
  • Work that includes contact with blood or body fluids, such as health care or public safety workers
  • Travel to areas wh