Preventing hepatitis B

Rebecca Johnson
Alberta Health Services

World Hepatitis Day is July 28. Close to 300 million people around the world live with a hepatitis B infection.

It is potentially life-threatening and is spread through blood or body fluids from an infected person.

What is it?

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus. It is the leading cause of liver cancer.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include tiredness, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, stomach and joint pain, dark-coloured urine and light-coloured stool and yellowing of eyes and skin.

Who is at risk?

Activities such as unprotected sex, sharing needles, tattooing or acupuncture put people at increased risk. In some countries, medical treatments and blood products may also be a source of infection.
Is there a vaccine to help prevent illness?

Yes, there is a vaccine available for all ages. A vaccine series against hepatitis B is 95- to 100-per-cent effective in preventing infection caused by the virus before exposure and for at least 30 years following immunization.

Learn more about hepatitis B and how to avoid it at immunizealberta.ca, or call Health Link at 811 if you have questions.

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