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Hepatitis B Vaccinations

Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) The incubation period from the time of exposure to onset of symptoms is 6 weeks to 6 months. HBV is found in highest concentrations in blood and in lower concentrations in other body fluids (e.g., semen, vaginal secretions, and wound exudates). HBV infection can be self-limited or chronic.

How is HBV transmitted?

HBV is transmitted through activities that involve percutaneous (i.e., puncture through the skin) or mucosal contact with infectious blood or body fluids (e.g., semen, saliva), including

  • Sex with an infected partner
  • Injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment
  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Contact with blood or open sores of an infected person
  • Needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
  • Intimate Kissing

HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, and hand holding, coughing, or sneezing.

How long does HBV survive outside the body?

HBV can survive outside the body at least 7 days and still be capable of causing infection.

Who is at risk for HBV infection?

The following populations are at increased risk of becoming infected with HBV:

  • Infants born to infected mothers
  • Sex partners of infected persons
  • Sexually active persons with multiple partners
  • Injection drug users
  • Household contacts of persons with chronic HBV infection
  • Health care and public safety workers at risk for occupational exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons
  • travellers to countries with intermediate or high prevalence of HBV infection
  • Travellers travelling for seeking Medical and Sex Tourism

Are international travellers at risk for HBV infection?

The risk for HBV infection in international travellers is generally low, except for certain travellers to regions where the prevalence of chronic HBV infection is high or intermediate

Countries like Central, East and west -Africa, Philippines are at higher risk due to large population positive for Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination should be administered to unvaccinated persons traveling to those countries. And it strongly recommended for younger generation, those involved with volunteer work, expatriates, backpacking and those who are planned to seek medical treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms of HBV infection?

The presence of signs and symptoms varies by age. Most children under age 5 years and newly infected immunosuppressed adults are asymptomatic, whereas 30%–50% of persons aged ≥5 years have initial signs and symptoms. When present, signs and symptoms can include

  • Fever, Fatigue, Loss of appetite, Nausea Vomiting Abdominal pain Dark urine Clay-colored bowel movements, Joint pain, Jaundice

Persons with chronic HBV infection might be asymptomatic, have no evidence of liver disease, or have a spectrum of disease ranging from chronic hepatitis to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (a type of liver cancer).

What is the incubation period for Hepatitis B?

Symptoms begin an average of 90 days (range: 60–150 days) after exposure to HBV.

When symptoms of acute Hepatitis B occur, how long do they usually last?

Symptoms typically last for several weeks but can persist for up to 6 months.

How serious is acute HBV infection?

Acute infection ranges from asymptomatic or mild disease to — rarely — fulminant hepatitis. Disease is more severe among adults aged >60 years.

How serious is chronic HBV infection?

Approximately 25% of those who become chronically infected during childhood and 15% of those who become chronically infected after childhood die prematurely from cirrhosis or liver cancer, and the majority remain asymptomatic until onset of cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease.

How likely is HBV infection to become chronic?

The risk for chronic infection varies according to the age at infection and is greatest among young children.

What should be used to remove HBV from environmental surfaces?

Any blood spills — including dried blood, which can still be infectious — should be cleaned using 1:10 dilution of one part household bleach to 10 parts of water for disinfecting the area. Gloves should be used when cleaning up any blood spills.


Vaccination for Hepatitis B is very useful for the high-risk group mentioned above.

Vaccination administered in two ways

Standard Regime

For those who got ample time like six months prior to undertake there travelling can be given standard schedule regime, which is 0, 4 weeks and six months apart, will give life time or 20 years coverage.

Accelerated Regime

Unfortunately majority of the traveller seek advice any where 3 to 5 weeks prior to departure need accelerated vaccination regime which is administered 0,7 days and 21 to 28 days followed by additional vaccination 12 months later also protect for life long or 20 years.

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