How Hepatitis B is Caused?

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is a highly infectious virus that primarily affects the liver. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. The most common modes of transmission include:

  • Unprotected Sexual Contact: HBV can spread through sexual intercourse with an infected partner, especially if there are small cuts or tears in the mucous membranes.
  • Contaminated Blood: Sharing needles or syringes for injecting drugs is a significant risk factor for transmission. Additionally, using contaminated medical equipment for procedures like tattooing or body piercing can also lead to infection.
  • Mother-to-Child Transmission: An infected mother can pass the virus to her child during childbirth. However, this risk can be reduced significantly by giving the newborn hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and the hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Exposure to Infected Blood or Body Fluids: Healthcare workers and individuals who come into contact with infected blood or body fluids are at risk of contracting the virus if proper precautions are not taken.
  • Sharing Personal Items: Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person can lead to transmission if there is a presence of blood on the items.
  • Unsafe Medical Procedures: In some parts of the world, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment may lead to the transmission of the virus during medical procedures.

Once the hepatitis B virus enters the body, it attacks the liver cells, causing inflammation and damage to the liver. Some people may clear the virus from their bodies without any long-term effects, but others may develop chronic hepatitis B infection, which can lead to severe liver complications like cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

To prevent hepatitis B infection, vaccination is recommended for everyone, particularly infants and children, individuals at high risk of exposure, and healthcare workers. It’s essential to practice safe sex, avoid sharing needles or personal items, and take proper precautions in medical settings to reduce the risk of transmission.