Center of disease control

The term “hepatitis” is used to describe a common form of liver injury. Hepatitis simply means “inflammation of the liver” (the suffix “itis” means inflammation and “hepa” means liver). Hepatitis B is a specific type of hepatitis that is caused by a virus.

It is estimated that there are more than 250 million carriers of the hepatitis B virus in the world , with over 500,000 dying annually from hepatitis B-related liver disease.

Fortunately, several medications are available for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, and hepatitis B infection can be prevented by vaccination. Hepatitis B vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing hepatitis B infection and are now given routinely to newborns and children in the United States and in many other countries.

Most people infected with hepatitis B as adults recover fully, even if their signs and symptoms are severe. Infants and children are more likely to develop a chronic hepatitis B infection. If you’re infected, taking certain precautions can help prevent spreading HBV to others.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B does not always cause symptoms. Many people can live with Hepatitis B for decades without feeling sick. If and when symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or the eyes)