HEPATITIS B

HEALTH INFORMATION

HEALTH INFORMATION

Introduction

Hepatitis B is one of the common viral Hepatitis in Hong Kong. Referring to the data provided by Department of Health, HK, overall prevalence of chronic Hepatitis B infection in Hong Kong is high (>8%).

HBV can be transmitted through blood contact, sexual contact and mother to child transmission at or around the time of delivery.

Symptoms

  1. Mild fever
  2. Abnormal pain
  3. Tiredness
  4. Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Dark urine

However, the majority of patients do not have any symptom at all.

5-10% of infected adult and 70-90% of infected infants are unable to clear the virus, thus becoming chronic carriers and serving as sources of infection to others.

About 25% of the carriers would develop chronic liver damage including cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Prevention

  1. The most effective method is through Hepatitis B vaccination, which takes a total of three injections in the complete course of vaccination.
    After a full course of vaccination about 90 to 95% of people will gain life-long immunity to Hepatitis B.
    It is preferable to have blood test before vaccinated as only people who have never been exposed to Hepatitis B should be vaccinated.
    Since 1988, babies born in Hong Kong have received Hepatitis vaccination.
  2. Handle open wounds carefully and wear gloves when you expect to be in contact with bloods of others;
  3. Do not share razors and toothbrushes or needles with other people.
  4. Be careful if you decide to undergo procedures like tattooing and acupuncture. Make sure clean and disposable instruments are used.
  5. Limit the number of your sexual partners. Practice safer sex and use the condom properly.

Treatment

Antiviral drugs are able to suppress HBV replication and thereby reduce virus-induced liver damage of chronic Hepatitis B infection. Consult your doctors for the appropriateness of these drugs.


Regular body check including blood test for liver function and alpha-fetoprotein and ultrasonography liver examination to detect changes in the liver whereby early treatment could be possible.