Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B

Fast Facts For Your Patients Hepatitis B Continuing Education

Fast Facts

  • The hepatitis B virus attacks the liver, and can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.
  • Hep B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent infection.
  • Hep B is transmitted through blood, semen, or bodily fluids.

National Immunization Survey Data:
Percent Children 19-35 Months Who Have Received > 3 HepB
(2020 Goal: 90.0%)


National Immunization Survey Data:
Percent Children Who Have Received a Birth Dose of HepB
(2020 Goal: 85.0%)



For Your Patients

Fact Sheet: English | Spanish
Hepatitis B FAQs
Vaccine Information Statement: English | Spanish
Infographic: here

Hepatitis B

From the CDC’s Pink Book:

Hepatitis A (formerly called infectious hepatitis) and hepatitis B (formerly called serum hepatitis) have been recognized as separate entities since the early 1940s and can be diagnosed with specific serologic tests. Delta hepatitis is an infection dependent on the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It may occur as a coinfection with acute HBV infection or as superinfection of an HBV carrier. HBV is a small, double-shelled virus in the family Hepadnaviridae.  The virus has a small circular DNA genome that is partially double-stranded. HBV contains numerous antigenic components, including HBsAg, hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg), and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg). Humans are the only known host for HBV, although some nonhuman primates have been infected in laboratory conditions. HBV is relatively resilient and, in some instances, has been shown to remain infectious on environmental surfaces for more than 7 days at room temperature.

An estimated 2 billion persons worldwide have been infected with HBV, and more than 350 million persons have chronic, lifelong infections. HBV infection is an established cause of acute and chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. It is the cause of up to 50% of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). The World Health Organization estimated that more than 600,000 persons died worldwide in 2002 of hepatitis B-associated acute and chronic liver disease.

The clinical course of acute hepatitis B is indistinguishable from that of other types of acute viral hepatitis. The incubation period ranges from 45 to 160 days (average,120 days). Clinical signs and symptoms occur more often in adults than in infants or children, who usually have an asymptomatic acute course. However, approximately 50% of adults who have acute infections are asymptomatic.

The preicteric, or prodromal phase from initial symptoms to onset of jaundice usually lasts from 3 to 10 days. It is nonspecific and is characterized by insidious onset of malaise, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, right upper quadrant abdominal pain, fever, headache, myalgia, skin rashes, arthralgia and arthritis, and dark urine, beginning 1 to 2 days before the onset of jaundice. The icteric phase is variable but usually lasts from l to 3 weeks and is characterized by jaundice, light or gray stools, hepatic tenderness and hepatomegaly (splenomegaly is less common). During convalescence, malaise and fatigue may persist for weeks or months, while jaundice, anorexia, and other symptoms disappear.

Most acute HBV infections in adults result in complete recovery with elimination of HBsAg from the blood and the production of anti-HBs, creating immunity to future infection.

Continuing Education

You Call The Shots: Hep B (expires 2/17/2018)