Hepatitis B Infection and inflammation of the liver. It can acute but often progress into chronic liver disease. Hepatitis B leads to cirrhosis, and liver failure and is the leading cause of liver-related death globally. Chronic Infection is among the most common cause also behind primary liver carcinoma. A potentially life-threatening infection and need immediate intervention.
Mode of Transmission:
Hepatitis spread from mother to child. Children under the age of five are more prone to develop chronic hepatitis Infection. Blood from an infected person also another major source of transmission of this infection. Sharing needless, used syringes, tattooing or piercing and dental procedures done with contaminated equipment can spread this infection from one person to another. There a high risk of infection in male-male sex partners and heterosexuals having multiple partners.
Any medical or surgical equipment contaminated with infected blood can transmit the Infection. Syringes sharing in drug abusers and blades contaminated with blood are potential sources of infection. The virus can survive outside the human body for at least seven days and still can be a source of infection if it enters the body of an unvaccinated person. The incubation period of the virus from 30 to 180 days.
In the early stage of hepatitis B, most people don’t feel any symptoms. After the incubation period, acute hepatitis also develops, and the patient experiences extreme fatigue. loss of appetite, fever, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, jaundice, dark urine, and abdominal pain. Hepatitis B can cause acute liver failure in some people and may progress into chronic hepatitis in others. Gradually progressing into cirrhosis and liver failure if left untreated.
Most of the adults will recover from acute hepatitis B and only 5% of infections will progress into chronic hepatitis. But this not the case with children below 6 years of age. Nearly 50% of them will suffer from chronic hepatitis after acquiring the infection. Patients with HIV often co-infected with the virus.
Hepatitis B diagnosed with the help of a blood test. Antibodies against the virus are formed in the initial stage of infection and HBsAg and IgMbecome positive. Patients are also positive for HBeAgindicating active replication of the virus.
There is no specific need for treatment in case of acute hepatitis B. Symptomatic treatment given and the patient’s condition also monitored. Dietary supplements and enough fluid intake advised. Unnecessary use of medication discouraged.
Chronic Hepatitis B needs to be treated with medicine including some antiviral drugs. Although only a few people need treatment. The timely intervention will result in the prevention of cirrhosis and reduce the incidence of liver cancer. Treatment in most people results in only suppression of the virus and not its eradication that’s why people need life long medicine for this infection. Antivirals used for it expensive and countries with a majority of the low-income population can not afford it. The best way is also prevention. Vaccines for the virus are widely available with very good protection parameters.
Hepatitis B in Pakistan:
The prevalence of hepatitis B varies among different groups of populations and different localities in Pakistan. Recent data shows HBV is more prevalent in the Afghan population and in prison inmates, professional blood donors. People with multiple drug transfusion history, health care professional, and psychiatric patients. The general population of some areas shows as much as 5% of people infected from it. These specific areas include Southern Punjab also interior Sindh, Tatta, Kurram Agency, Baltistan, and some areas of Lahore. All these areas have the highest rate of infection among its residents.
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