Hepatitis B - is a killer

Common querries about hepatitis-B

1) How is hepatitis-B spread

It is spread by parenteral route i.e. by infected blood, syringes or needles, intercourse with infected person (therefore use of condom is recommended), infected material coming in contact with exposed wound or mucosa. Another important route is from infected mother to the newborn at birth

2) Does it spread by shaking hand with infected person or taking dinner with him ?

No, It doesn't

3) How long before the infection becomes manifest ?

It may take six weeks to six months before the infection becomes manifest

4) Does this jaundice differ from other jaundices ?

The jaundice resulting from hepatitis-B may not differ in any way from jaundice of other causes

5) Is it true that once you contract this jaundice it is always fatal ?

No, in fact nearly all patients recover , a few partially and there is very negligent mortality

6) What is the treatment for hepatitis-B

In acute cases no specific treatment is required

7) What is chronic hepatitis-B ?

A few percentages of hepatitis-B patients go on to develop persistent liver inflammation which is called chronic hepatitis-B

8) What are the complications of chronic hepatitis-B ?

If untreated this could lead to cirrhosis of liver or even liver cancer

9) Could this be treated?

Yes, if caught in time this is treatable in a large majority of patients with drugs like interferon and lamivudine. Few more drugs will come into use in near future

10) Could hepatitis-B prevented

Yes, now several effective vaccines are available for prevention. It is recommended that newborns are vaccinated on birth. Generally genetically engineered ones are preferred.