Hepatitis B (HBsAg hepatitis) is an acute infectious disease or chronic, caused by hepatitis B virus, which can cause serious long term health problems.
In most cases of acute hepatitis B virus you can fully recover, but a proportion of cases (1-10%) progress to chronicity. Chronic hepatitis B virus infection is a long-term condition that can lead to cirrhosis (a process characterized by fibrosis of liver tissue and its function impairment, which can lead to death).
Mode of transmission
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted from an infected person through blood and blood products, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, amniotic fluid and other body fluids. There are several modes of transmission:
- Vertical or perinatal from infected mother to child during pregnancy or birth
- Intimate contact (kissing, intercourse)
- By close contact with a carrier of the virus within the family (eg, using the same toothbrush, razor, tableware)
- Through blood or contaminated materials (blood transfusions, inoculations with syringe needles, unsterilized medical instruments,)
Chronic carriers represent a serious public health problem, being a tank continuous transmission of the virus. Hepatitis B is about 1000 times more infectious than HIV! Contagioziate period is 2 weeks before disease onset and lasts until the disappearance of HBsAg porting.
This prolonged blood B virus and that of its antigens, the blood of patients with hepatitis B is highly infectious (for several weeks, months or even a lifetime).
The incubation period is 6 weeks to 6 months, with an average of 120 days.
Onset (preicterica period) may be flu-like with fever, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, fatigue (tiredness) but other symptoms marked misleading (rheumatic pain, asthenia, rash). After 3-4 days, 50% of infected people will show characteristic signs of hepatitis: jaundice, dark urine (dark) and stools. Evolution is long and difficult, and slow healing occurs only 70-80% of patients. The others remain with persistent infection (chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, or may be chronic carriers of the virus).
The most serious complications are fulminant hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer. The risk of chronic hepatitis (chronic presence of the virus in the blood) is even higher when infection occurred at a younger age. 90% of children infected at birth become chronic carriers. Chronization occurs mostly as a result of inapparent forms of the disease. In 25% of chronic carriers of major complications occur in time (cirrhosis, primary liver cancer).
There is no specific treatment against acute disease. Some medicines may stop the disease from chronic carriers of the virus. Treatment is complex, costly and only partially effective. Convalescence is marked by a long period of weakness. After the period of compulsory hospitalization is required healing control of between 6-12 months.
Hepatitis B is a public health problem, being one of the most common infectious diseases. Vaccination is the only effective method of disease protection.