HEPATITIS B VIRUS, Causes, Treatment (HBV)

It is the virus which is responsible for hepatitis B. It is the infectious disease which can be acute or chronic, chronic means that if it lasts more than 6 months. Chronic hepatitis increase the risk of liver failure, liver cancer. Acute cases may not require proper treatment. Most adults recover fully, even if the symptoms are severe. A vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, but if you have it then there is no cure.

STRUCTURE OF HBV

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a member of the Hepadnavirus ( the family of virus-.  The virus particle consists of an outer lipid covering and an nucleo-capsid  core composed of core protein. These virions are 30–42 nm in diameter.

Symptoms:

Acute or short-term hepatitis usually do not cause symptoms but in chronic hepatitis, the symptoms are shown. Some people may develop severe form of symptoms, they develop severe liver disease and may die because of it. The clinical features are fever, skin rash, yellowish skin. The other symptoms include:

1. Jaundice ( the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow, the urine colour changes to dark orange and brown)

2. Fatigue

3. Fever

4. Joint pain

5. Fatigue for months and weeks

6. abdominal pain

7. Nausea / vomiting

8. Hepatocellular carcinoma ( liver cancer)

9. Loss of appetite

10. Nephropathy in children

CAUSES OF HEPATITIS B

Hepatitis B is caused by Hepatitis B virus. It is transmitted from person to person through blood, body fluids and semen. This is 50-100 times more infectious than HIV. It does not transmit through coughing or sneezing. Following are the main causes of hepatitis.

Infected needles

HBV is easily transmitted through infected needles or syringes. This puts you at high risk of developing Hepatitis. So, always be careful.

Sexual contact

HBV is transmitted because of unprotected sex with infected person. The virus enters in you through blood, saliva, semen or body fluids.

Accidental needle stick

HBV is mainly a concern for healthcare workers who come in contact with human blood daily. So great care is required in handling such patients or their blood.

Mother to Child

Pregnant women having hepatitis B, transmits that virus to developing child. A mother who is positive for the HBsAg( Hepatitis b surface antigen) has a 20% risk of passing the infection to her offspring. This risk is as high as 90% if the mother is also positive for HBsAg. However, the new born can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected in all the cases. You should talk to your doctor about being tested for hepatitis B if you are pregnant.

RISK FACTORS FOR HBV

Hepatitis B spreads through contact with blood, semen or other body fluids. The risk of hepatitis B infection increases if a persons

1.Have unprotected sex with someone who’s infected with HBV

2.Share needles during IV drug

3.Live with someone who has a chronic HBV infection

4.an infant born to an infected mother

5.Have a job that exposes you to human blood

6. People having liver disease, have more risk of developing Hepatitis B

VACCINATION

The hepatitis B vaccine is typically given as three or four injections over six months. You can’t get hepatitis B from the vaccine.

woman inject boy on arm
vaccination for HBV ( unsplash.com)

The hepatitis B vaccine is given to

1.Newborns

2.Children and adolescents who are not vaccinated at birth.

3.Those who work or live in a centre for people who are developmentally disable.

4.People who live with someone who has hepatitis B.

5.Health care worker, and the other people who come into contact with blood.

6.Anyone who has a sexually transmitted infection like HIV.

7.People who have multiple sexual partners.

8.Sexual partners of someone having HBV.

9.People who inject illegal drugs or share needles and syringes with others.

10.People with chronic liver diseases.

11.People with end-stage kidney disease.

DIAGNOSIS OF HBV

If your doctor thinks you may have it, they’ll EXAMINE you physically. They will test your blood to see if your liver is inflamed or not. If you have hepatitis B symptoms and high levels of liver enzymes then you’ll be tested for:

Hepatitis B surface antigen and antibody (HBsAg). 

The antigens are proteins on the hepatitis B virus. Antibodies are the proteins that are made by our immune cells. They are shown up in the blood between 1 and 10 weeks after the exposure.

TREATMENT FOR HBV

There is no specific treatment for the acute hepatitis B. Therefore, care is necessary for maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea. Most important is the avoidance of unnecessary medications.

Check with your doctor before taking any other drugs, herbal medicines and other supplements. Some of them can harm this organ, too. Also, eat healthy food. If the infection goes away, then the doctor will tell you that you’re an inactive carrier. That means there’s no more virus in your body.

Entecavir: This is the newest form of drug for hepatitis B. You can take it as a liquid or as a tablet.

Adefovir: This drug, which you take as a tablet. This works well for people who don’t respond to lamivudine. High doses of this can led to kidney problems.

Tenofovir: This drug comes as a powder or as tablet. If you take it, your doctor will check often to make sure that it doesn’t cause any problem to kidneys.

Telbivudine: It is an antiviral medication. Many people become resistant to this. It is common.

PREVENTION TO HBV

Following preventions should be taken:

1.Wear gloves when you clean up after the others, especially if you have to touch bandages.

2.Cover all the open cuts or the wounds.

3.Do not share razors, nail care tools, or pierced earrings with others.

4.Make certain that the needles for piecing, tools for tattoos are sterilized.

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