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Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis B virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis B is usually spread when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact with an infected person or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment. Hepatitis B can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth.
Hepatitis B can be either acute or chronic. Acute Hepatitis B virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis B virus. Acute infection can — but does not always — lead to chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis B virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis B virus remains in a person’s body. Chronic Hepatitis B is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, and even death.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.
Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients of GARDASIL, including those severely allergic to yeast, should not receive the vaccine. GARDASIL is not for women who are pregnant.
About 7 out of 10 adults with acute hepatitis B have signs or symptoms when infected with HBV. Children under age 5 years who become infected rarely show any symptoms. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B might include nausea, lack of appetite, tiredness, muscle, joint, or stomach pain, fever, diarrhea or vomiting, headache, dark urine, light-colored stools, and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice). People who have such signs or symptoms generally feel quite ill and might need to be hospitalized. The case fatality rate among persons with reported cases of acute hepatitis B is approximately 1.5%, with the highest rates occurring in adults who are over 60 years of age.