Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B Letter Home

CAUSE:

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B (also called serum Hepatitis) is caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause a spectrum of symptoms ranging from general malaise to chronic liver disease that can lead to cancer of the liver.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Most children and many adults don’t have symptoms.

Symptoms, if present are similar to Hepatitis A

  • Yellow skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Feeling very tired
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

INCUBATION PERIOD:

The incubation period is between 4 to 20 weeks

MODE OF TRANSMISSION:

Contact with infected person’s blood/body fluids

Sharing injection drug or tattooing equipment

Unprotected sex

Infected mother to her infant during delivery or breastfeeding

Household contact

Occupational exposure through needle stick

PREVENTIVE MEASURES:

Get vaccinated

Don’t share needles to inject drugs, tattooing equipment, razors or toothbrushes

Avoid unsafe sexual practices

Pregnant women screened for HBV and routine vaccination for all infants

Use standard precautions in occupations that involve possible exposure to blood and bodily fluids

PERIOD OF COMMUNICABILITY:

With Hepatitis B, 85% to 90% of patients recover from their illness completely within 6 months, without long-term complications. People with Hepatitis B who continue to be infected can develop chronic Hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. Some people may also become lifelong carriers of the virus and can spread the disease to other people.

IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL:

None. Report to Coordinated Student Health Services, Coordinated Student Health Services will report to Department of Health-Broward.