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Hepatitis B
(NF023)

Introduction


Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver most commonly caused by any of a group of viruses, but which may also be caused by toxic substances, such as drugs, chemicals, alcohol and environmental toxins. Hepatitis infections vary from short-term to chronic, mild to life threatening.

The virus for hepatitis B, formerly called serum hepatitis, is found in semen, blood and saliva. It is spread by contaminated needles, sexual contact, and to children of infected women during childbirth.

About 350 million persons carry the hepatitis B virus (HBV) worldwide. In the United States, there are about 128,000 new cases every year and about 1-1.35 million persons with chronic hepatitis B.

The goals of care for acute hepatitis are relief of symptoms, monitoring for complications and more serious disease, and supportive care through its resolution. The goals of care for all forms of chronic hepatitis are to relieve symptoms, prevent the development of cirrhosis, reduce levels of the virus in the body, and improve survival.

Because there is no cure for hepatitis B, prevention is very important. Some medications are used to inhibit the replication of the HBV DNA, although their effect on the long-term outcome of the illness is as yet uncertain.

Get the Facts... With your MediFocus Guide


The Medifocus Guide on Hepatitis B provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:


What Your Doctor Reads:


This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:


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