Hepatitis B is a liver infection, caused by a virus, which not only causes liver failure but also leads to cancer and death if left untreated. The disease progresses slowly and severely damages the liver, which is often irreversible.
Hepatitis B shows no symptoms in the first 1 to 6 months. It then becomes more acute, the body starts to show the following symptoms:
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted through the blood and bodily fluid of an infected person, i.e. saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. You have a higher probability of contamination with Hepatitis B virus through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, and sharing needles to inject drugs as well.
Yes, the virus can spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby. Individuals who frequently travel to countries where the incidence is higher include healthcare workers; people with multiple sexual partners; homosexual men and intravenous drug users are at an increased risk of infection.
When the virus remains in the blood of an infected individual for over 6 months, it is said to be a chronic or permanent Hepatitis B infection.
Unfortunately, Hepatitis B has no cure. Generally the infection goes away on its own after 4 to 8 weeks. The carrier however, is contagious and can infect others with the virus for the remainder of their life.
Hepatitis B cases which last for over 8 weeks have a higher incidence of liver cancer or cirrhosis later on. Performing a hepatitis B test early prevents health problems, if left undetected, at a later stage of life.
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At Walk in Clinic, we provide convenient and affordable private gp services to patients. If you are staying, visiting or working in London, then our gp appointments can be conducted in person by walking in at the clinic.