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What is hepatitis B? 

The hepatitis B virus is one of several viruses that can cause inflammation of the liver.

Hepatitis B is spread through the blood or sexual fluids (vaginal fluids or semen) of an infected person entering the blood stream of a non-infected person. It is also transmitted from mother to baby during birth.

Most people (95%) who get infected with hepatitis B as an adult will have a short term (acute) illness, and their body will get rid of the virus naturally. Symptoms of acute hepatitis B infection may be flu-like symptoms, muscle aches and pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). However, many people will have no symptoms at all and not know that they have the infection.

Untreated, chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious liver disease and/or liver cancer in one in four people (25%!).

There are effective treatments for chronic hepatitis B that dramatically reduce the risk of serious liver disease.

Return to main Hepatitis B page