Symptoms of this viral infection resemble acute hepatitis A symptoms; it is more difficult to transmit (spread), but the dangers are bigger. Hepatitis B virus usually spreads through contact with infected blood. In developed countries, the virus spreads via poorly sterilized needles that are used in acupuncture, tattooing, or improper injection.
In addition, some people are ”germ carriers”, i.e. they transmit the disease even though they have no symptoms, so the blood donor can infect another person when his blood is transfused. Anyone who had hepatitis B (at some point in his/hers life) should not be a donor. Therefore, there is virtually no danger of infection.
It is believed that 1-5% of people receiving the transfusion will be affected by serum hepatitis.
Among the clinically healthy people, there are 0.5 to 1% of the SH-antigen carriers. Finally, acute hepatitis B can also be transmitted through sexual or intimate contact, as the virus is present in the saliva, in the seed fluid and in the vaginal discharge.
In most cases, acute hepatitis B does not cause any long-term consequences. Sometimes, however, the disease can arouse so suddenly that it ends with death. In a small number of cases, the disease may cause chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver.
What to do?
If you get a jaundice with flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. Diagnosis and treatment of acute hepatitis B is the same as in acute hepatitis A, although your doctor will probably advise you to come to a regular checkup to find out any possible liver disorders as soon as possible. Your doctor may want to look at your partner to see if he/she is a germ carrier.
If you have had acute hepatitis B, take special care of personal hygiene so that you won’t infect the environment.