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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 are the most common symptoms of Hepatitis B?
- Are there any recognized risk factors for developing Hepatitis B?
- What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of Hepatitis B?
- What is the current standard of care for the treatment of Hepatitis B?
- What treatment options are available for the management of Hepatitis B?
- Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
- Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in Hepatitis B?
- Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for Hepatitis B?
- What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about Hepatitis B?
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:
- Hepatitis B: the only vaccine-preventable bloodborne pathogen.
Medicine & Health, Rhode Island. 2000
- Hepatitis B virus: infected or just carrying?.
Indian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2000
- Risk and management of blood-borne infections in health care workers.
Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2000
- What did we learn from the Shanghai hepatitis A epidemic?.
Journal of Viral Hepatitis. 2000
- Antiviral chemotherapy for the treatment of hepatitis B virus infections.
- Lamivudine for hepatitis B in clinical practice.
Journal of Medical Virology. 2000
- Lamivudine for treating active hepatitis B in renal transplant recipients: a case report.
Clinical Nephrology. 2000
- Vaccines for preventing hepatitis B in health-care workers.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
- Intrahepatic T cells in hepatitis B: viral control versus liver cell injury.
Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2000
- Current update of pediatric hepatitis vaccine use.
Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2000
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