It is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks the human body's liver.
This virus has been present in the world since the Bronze Age. Its evidence was found in 4,500-year-old human remains. According to a study in 2018, the viral-named genomes found by the shotgun sequencing method became one of the oldest to recuperate from vertebrate samples. It was observed that a few older hepatitis viruses still infect humans, while a few became extinct. This refutes the statement that the hepatitis B virus was originated from the new world.
In 1967, Dr. Blumberg and his colleagues found the virus. They discovered the blood test, which was used to detect it. In 1969, the hepatitis B vaccine was invented by Dr. Blumberg and his team.
Types of hepatitis B
There are two types of hepatitis B viruses: acute and chronic.
1. Acute hepatitis B virus
This happens at the beginning, within six months after someone comes in contact with the virus. It is a short-term illness and is curable. Some people suffering from this have a mild illness, and some even have no symptoms at all.
2. Chronic hepatitis B virus
This is a long-lasting illness. The virus present for more than six months in the body is called chronic hepatitis B virus. It leads to various serious problems like inflammation, fatal liver cancer, and cirrhosis of the liver. Treatment can eliminate the disease or can slow down the disease's progress.
Symptoms of hepatitis B
Acute hepatitis B (short-term hepatitis) rarely shows symptoms, so you will hardly notice any symptoms in children below 5 years of age suffering from hepatitis.
Some noticeable symptoms are:
- Stomach trouble
- Light-colored discharge
- Belly pain
- Joint pain
Symptoms may not show until one to seven months after getting infected. Even chronic hepatitis does not always show symptoms. But with a blood test, you can easily find out whether it is chronic or acute.
Causes of hepatitis B
The hepatitis B virus causes hepatitis B disease. This virus moves from one body to another by semen, blood, and fluids. But unlike the coronavirus, it doesn't spread by coughing and sneezing. Some ways of spreading are:
1. Sexual contact
When people come in sexual contact with someone already infected with the hepatitis virus, it enters the body through blood, semen, vaginal excretion, and saliva.
2. Sharing syringes and needles
Using syringes and needles which are tainted with infected blood.
3. Mother to child
The virus can easily pass from pregnant women to their child who is already suffering from hepatitis B. It's better to consult with a doctor if you are suffering from hepatitis B but want to become pregnant.
The risk of getting infected with the virus can increase if you:
*Have sexual contact without protection with multiple sex partners or someone who is already suffering from this disease.
*Sharing needles and syringes
*Come in contact with a chronic HIV-infected person
*Traveling where the HBV infection rate is high
1. Acute hepatitis B
For this, you may not need any treatment. Only rest, good nutrition, fluids, and some hepatitis B medicines like Barracuda will be required to fight the virus.
2. Chronic hepatitis B
Here, you may need treatment for fighting virus-like medications. An Interferon injection is recommended for young people who don't want long-term treatment. A liver transplant is a good option for those whose liver is completely damaged.