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Hepatitis B and C Dr. Asif Rehman
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%– 6% of adults. Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer. The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.
Hepatitis B Transmission HBV is transmitted through activities that involve percutaneous (i. e. , puncture through the skin) or mucosal contact with infectious blood or body fluids (e. g. , semen, saliva), including Sex with an infected partner Injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drugpreparation equipment Birth to an infected mother Contact with blood or open sores of an infected person Needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, hand shaking, coughing, or sneezing.
Hepatitis B and Pregnancy Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a pregnant woman poses a serious risk to her infant at birth. Without postexposure immuno-prophylaxis, approximately 40% of infants born to HBV -infected mothers will develop chronic HBV infection, approximately one-fourth of whom will eventually die from chronic liver disease.
Who is at risk for HBV infection? Infants born to infected mothers Sex partners of infected persons Homosexuals Injection drug users Household contacts of persons with chronic HBV infection Health care and public safety workers at risk for occupational exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids Hemodialysis patients Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons Travelers to countries with intermediate or high prevalence of HBV infection
Risk for international travelers The risk for HBV infection in international travelers is generally low, except for certain travelers to regions where the prevalence of chronic HBV infection is high or intermediate (i. e. , hepatitis B surface antigen prevalence of ≥ 2%). Hepatitis B vaccination should be administered to unvaccinated persons traveling to those countries.
Sign and Symptoms The presence of signs and symptoms varies by age. Most children under age 5 years and newly infected immunosuppressed adults are asymptomatic, whereas 30%– 50% of persons aged ≥ 5 years have initial signs and symptoms. When present, signs and symptoms can include: Fever, Fatigue Loss of appetite Nausea, Vomiting Abdominal pain, Dark urine Joint pain and Jaundice Persons with chronic HBV infection might be asymptomatic, have no evidence of liver disease, or have a spectrum of disease ranging from chronic hepatitis to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.
FAQ about Hepatitis B HBV can survive outside the body at least 7 days and still be capable of causing infection Any blood spills — including dried blood, which can still be infectious — should be cleaned using 1: 10 dilution of one part household bleach to 10 parts of water for disinfecting the area. Gloves should be used when cleaning up any blood spills. Symptoms begin an average of 90 days (range: 60– 150 days) after exposure to HBV. Symptoms typically last for several weeks but can persist for up to 6 months HBs. Ag will be detected in an infected person’s blood an average of 4 weeks (range: 1– 9 weeks) after exposure to the virus. About 1 of 2 patients will no longer be infectious by 7 weeks after onset of symptoms, and all patients who do not remain chronically infected will be HBs. Ag-negative by 15 weeks after onset of symptoms.
Cont. Approximately 25% of those who become chronically infected during childhood and 15% of those who become chronically infected after childhood die prematurely from cirrhosis or liver cancer, and the majority remain asymptomatic until onset of cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease. In the United States, chronic HBV infection results in an estimated 1, 800 deaths per year. The risk for chronic infection varies according to the age at infection and is greatest among young children. Approximately 90% of infants and 25%– 50% of children aged 1– 5 years will remain chronically infected with HBV. By contrast, approximately 95% of adults recover completely from HBV infection and do not become chronically infected
Treatment Acute Infection: For acute infection, no medication is available; treatment is supportive. Chronic Infection: There are several antiviral medications for persons with chronic infection. Persons with chronic HBV infection require linkage to care with regular monitoring to prevent liver damage and/or hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatitis B Serology What do the different hepatitis B serologic markers mean? Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBs. Ag): A protein on the surface of HBV; it can be detected in high levels in serum during acute or chronic HBV infection. The presence of HBs. Ag indicates that the person is infectious. The body normally produces antibodies to HBs. Ag as part of the normal immune response to infection. HBs. Ag is the antigen used to make hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs): The presence of anti-HBs is generally interpreted as indicating recovery and immunity from HBV infection. Anti-HBs also develops in a person who has been successfully vaccinated against hepatitis B. Total hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc): Appears at the onset of symptoms in acute hepatitis B and persists for life. The presence of anti-HBc indicates previous or ongoing infection with HBV in an undefined time frame. Hepatitis B e antigen (HBe. Ag): A secreted product of the nucleocapsid gene of HBV that is found in serum during acute and chronic hepatitis B. Its presence indicates that the virus is replicating and the infected person has high levels of HBV.
Hepatitis B vaccination The vaccination schedule most often used for children is 3 intramuscular injections, at 6, 10 and 14 weeks after birth.
HBV in Pakistan and Globally Hepatitis B virus infection is a major global health problem, especially in Asia, Africa, southern Europe and Latin America. About 2 billion people are infected with HBV worldwide, and 400 million among them are suffering from chronic HBV infection. More than 686, 000 people die every year due to complications of hepatitis B, including cirrhosis and liver cancer Pakistan is highly endemic with HBV with Nine million people infected with HBV and its infection rate is on a steady rise. The reason may be the lack of proper health facilities, poor economical status and less public awareness about the transmission of major communicable diseases including HBV, HCV and HIV. (Muhammad Ali et al, 2011. Hepatitis B virus in Pakistan: A systematic review of prevalence, risk factors, awareness status and genotypes), (WHO), (CDC)
Prevalence of HBV in Pakistan The Pakistan Medical Research Council undertook a national general population survey in 2007– 2008 on the actual prevalence of hepatitis B (HBs. Ag) and hepatitis C (anti HCV) in Pakistan. The prevalence of HBs. Ag was 2. 5%, while anti HCV prevalence was 4. 8%, making a combined infection rate of 7. 6%, reflecting a population pool of about 13 million chronic hepatitis B and C carriers. A systematic review by Muhammad Ali et al published in 2011 on Hepatitis B virus in Pakistan concluded the percentage of HBV in general population about 4. 5%.
Incidence of HBV in USA
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%– 85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a longterm, chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of infected persons might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.
HCV Transmission HCV is transmitted primarily through large or repeated percutaneous (i. e. , passage through the skin) exposures to infectious blood, such as Injection drug use (currently the most common means of HCV transmission worldwide and in the United States) Receipt of donated blood, blood products, and organs (once a common means of transmission but now rare since blood screening became available in 1992) Needle stick injuries in health care settings Birth to an HCV-infected mother Sex with an HCV-infected person (an inefficient means of transmission) Sharing personal items contaminated with infectious blood, such as razors or toothbrushes (also inefficient vectors of transmission) Other health care procedures that involve invasive procedures, such as Dental procedures
Sign and symptoms of HCV Persons with newly acquired HCV infection usually are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms that are unlikely to prompt a visit to a health care professional. When symptoms occur, they can include: Fever, Fatigue Dark urine, Clay-colored stool Abdominal pain, Loss of appetite Nausea, Vomiting Joint pain and Jaundice
Who are at risk of HCV infection The following persons are at known to be at increased risk for HCV infection: Current or former injection drug users, including those who injected only once many years ago Recipients of blood transfusions before July 1992, when better testing of blood donors became available Chronic hemodialysis patients Health care workers after needle sticks involving HCV-positive blood Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested HCV-positive Children born to HCV-positive mothers
Pregnancy and HCV infection Approximately 6 of every 100 infants born to HCV-infected mothers become infected with the virus. Transmission occurs at the time of birth, and no prophylaxis is available to prevent it. The risk is increased by the presence of maternal HCV viremia at delivery and also is 2– 3 times greater if the woman is co-infected with HIV. Most infants infected with HCV at birth have no symptoms and do well during childhood. There is no evidence that breastfeeding spreads HCV. However, HCV-positive mothers should consider abstaining from breastfeeding if their nipples are cracked or bleeding.
HCV situation in Pakistan and Globally Hepatitis C is found worldwide. The most affected regions are Africa and Central and East Asia Globally, between 130– 150 million people globally have chronic hepatitis C infection. Approximately 700 000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver diseases The Pakistan Medical Research Council undertook a national general population survey in 2007– 2008 on the actual prevalence of hepatitis B (HBs. Ag) and hepatitis C (anti HCV) in Pakistan. The prevalence of HBs. Ag was 2. 5%, while anti HCV prevalence was 4. 8%, making a combined infection rate of 7. 6%, reflecting a population pool of about 13 million chronic hepatitis B and C carriers.