About the Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV). One-third of the world population has been infected with HBV. About 1 in 10 Asian Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders worldwide have chronic hepatitis B, but it is a silent disease because most people with chronic hepatitis B do not know that they have been infected. 1 in 4 people with chronic hepatitis B will die from liver cancer or liver failure. Thus, effective education, screening, and vaccination are necessary to stop this silent hepatitis B epidemic.
The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by hepatitis B vaccination, which is a series of 3-4 shots administered over 6 months. For all newborns, it is recommended that they receive their first dose of the vaccine at birth. For newborns with infected mother, they should receive first dose of vaccine and a shot of HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) within 12 hours of birth. The hepatitis B vaccination is $35 per shot at Hillsborough County Health Department's Immunization Clinic at 4951 E Adamo Dr. Suite 210, Tampa, FL. (813) 307-8077.
Tests to Diagnose Hepatitis B
Tests to Monitor Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg).
- Positive test= is infected and need to see a doctor.
- Negative test= not infected, but may be in incubation period.
- This test is the primary way to diagnose chronic hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis B Surface Antibody (anti-HBs).
- Positive test= had vaccine or recovered from acute hepatitis.
- Negative test= need to get vaccinated.
- Total Hepatitis B Core Antibody (anti-HBc).
- Positive test= currently infected or was infected
- IgM Hepatitis B Core Antibody (IgM anti-HBc).
- Positive= acute infection, within the last 6 months.
- Hepatitis B "e" Antigen (HBeAg).
- Positive= high levels of virus.
- Hepatitis B e Antibody (HBeAb or anti-HBe).
- Positive= chronic HBV infection, but at lower risk of liver problems because of low level of HBV
- ALT (alanine aminotransferase)- test for liver damage
- AFT (alpha-fetoprotein)- test for liver cancer
- Liver Ultrasound- test for liver cancer
Hepatitis B Viral DNA
- Complete blood count with platelet
- Prothrombin time (PT)
- Liver biopsy
- HBsAg and anti-HBs
- HBeAg and anti-HBe
People with acute hepatitis B (infection within 6 months) may have no symptoms, or may have mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, muscle and joint pain, and jaundice (yellow color skin or eyes).
People with chronic hepatitis B (infection longer than 6 months) usually do not have any symptoms for as long as 20 to 30 years. Chronic hepatitis B may cause liver damage, liver failure, liver cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver cancer, and death. Most people with chronic hepatitis B were infected at birth or during early childhood.
Hepatitis B can be spread via blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or other body fluid, such as by
- Having unprotected sex
- Sharing contaminated needles, syringes, razors, toothbrushes
- Needle stick injuries in healthcare settings
- Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- Hepatitis B can NOT be spread by sharing utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing.
Who is at Risk
Anyone can be infected with hepatitis B, but following people are at a higher risk:
- Infants born to infected mothers
- People who have unprotected sex with infected people
- Men who have sex with men
- Injection-drug users who share contaminated needle, syringes, or other drug equipments with infected people
- Healthcare workers who are exposed to blood on the job
- Hemodialysis patients
- People born in or who travel to countries with high rates of hepatitis B. Countries in Asia, Pacific Islands, and in southern Africa all have greater than 8% of population infected with chronic hepatitis B. Many other countries also have high rates. For information about specific countries, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HBV/PDFs/ChronicHepBTestingFlwUp.pdf
For acute hepatitis B, there is no treatment available, but people should be resting, have adequate nutrition and fluids, and may need to be hospitalized.
For chronic hepatitis B, there are FDA approved medications, but not everyone with chronic hepatitis B needs treatment. If you have chronic hepatitis B, please ask your doctor to get tested for liver disease and to be evaluated for treatment. You should also take care of your liver by avoid drinking alcohol and taking other medications that can further damage the liver. You should also receive hepatitis A vaccine.
Hepatitis B Statistics
- An estimated 2 billion people worldwide (1/3 world population) have been infected with HBV (WHO)
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide have chronic HBV (CDC)
- 1 in 12 people worldwide are living with either chronic HBV or HCV (World Hepatitis Alliances)
- An estimated 620,000 people worldwide die from HBV -related liver disease each year (CDC)
- An estimated 1 in 4 adults with chronic infection since childhood later die from liver cancer or cirrhosis (WHO)
- An estimated 1 million people die each year from liver disease and liver cancer (CDC)
- Every 30-45 seconds, one person dies from the vaccine-preventable HBV
- 90% of infants infected during the 1st year of life develop chronic HBV (WHO)
- About 25% of children who become infected with hepatitis B would die from hepatitis B related liver disease as adults (CDC)
- An estimated 12.5 million Americans have been infected with hepatitis B at some point in their lifetime (CDC).
- An estimated 1.2 million Americans have chronic HBV (CDC)
- About 5,000 persons will die each year from hepatitis B-related liver disease, resulting in over $700 million in medical and work loss costs (CDC)
- About 16,000 - 20,000 hepatitis B infected women give birth each year (CDC).
- HBV is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV (WHO)
- HBV can survive outside the body for at least 7 days (WHO)
Support the Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Prevention and Control Act of 2009 (H.R. 3974)!
About the Act
Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Control and Prevention Act of 2009 (HR 3974) would amend the Public Health Service Act to establish, promote, and support a comprehensive prevention, research, and medical management referral program for chronic hepatitis B and C. This act will increase education for patients and health care providers, access to hepatitis testing and liver cancer screening, the ability of health departments to detect outbreaks, and supporting viral hepatitis prevention and education programs across the U.S. This Act was introduced by U.S. Representatives Mike Honda, (D-CA) and Charles Dent (R-PA) with original cosponsors Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA), David Wu (D-OR), Todd Platts (R-PA), Donna M. Christiansen (D-VI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), George Butterfield (D-NC), and Judy Chu (D-CA). To read the bill, please visit: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-3974
What Can You Do
We now have 52 Representative cosponsors and we can carry this momentum forward with your help! Email and call your Representative today to join as cosponsor and show their support for addressing the viral hepatitis epidemic. Feel free to use the template scripts below. You can reach your Representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 1-202-224-3121 or email Representatives directly from http:/writerep.house.gov. If you don't know your Representative, go to http://www.congress.org and enter your zip code in the upper right corner. To find names and contact information for Representatives in the Hillsborough County, please visit: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/legislativedelegation/delegationmembers
Email or Write Now- Sample Script
Dear Representative _____________,
My name is ____________, I live in Tampa, FL, and I care about viral hepatitis. Hepatitis is a serious health problem in the U.S., in my District, and is a very important issue to me. I urge for you as a Representative to show leadership in the fight against hepatitis and liver cancer by cosponsoring Representative Honda and Dent's Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Control Act, HR 3974.
Hepatitis B (HBV), alone, causes 80% of liver cancer and unfortunately, most individuals are unaware that they are chronically infected until it is too late. As many as 1 in 10 Asians and Pacific Islander (API) Americans are chronically infected with HBV compared to 1 in 1000 of the general public, making HBV one of the greatest ethnic health disparities in our country and in the world. In contrast to the 40 million individuals with HIV/AIDS, 350-400 million are chronically infected with HBV worldwide-1.25 million of which are Americans. And among them, more than half are API Americans.
Every 30-45 seconds, HBV takes a life. By the time you have finished reading this email, six or more may have already passed away from this completely vaccine-preventable disease. I urge you to cosponsor HR 3974 to promote a comprehensive prevention, research, and medical management referral program for chronic viral hepatitis B and C. With your leadership, you can join the campaign in eradicating HBV and this viral hepatitis epidemic.
To write, mail it to:
The Honorable _________
Florida House of Representatives
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300.
Call Now- Sample Script
"My name is ____________, I live in (city, state), and I care about viral hepatitis. Hepatitis is a serious health problem in the U.S., in my District, and is a very important issue to me. I urge for you as a Representative to show leadership in the fight against hepatitis and liver cancer by cosponsoring Representative Honda and Dent's Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Control Act, HR 3974." If there is time, tell them why this issue is important to you.
This information was adapted from an email from:
Corinna Dan, RN, MPH :: Hepatitis B Policy Fellow
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)
1400 Eye Street, NW, Suite #910, Washington, DC 20005
Cell: 240-753-8588 Ph: 202-331-4607 Fx: 202-296-3526 Email: email@example.com
Our Health is Our Strength
More Information on Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B- viral liver disease common among Asian and Pacific Islanders
CDC Information about Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B Foundation
Asian Liver Center at Stanford University
Physician's Guide to Hepatitis B
Team HBV Collegiate Chapters
Florida Hepatitis Prevention Program
Florida Hepatitis Prevention Program
Florida Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP)
Tampa Bay Hepatitis and Liver Disease Support Group
Meets 3rd Wednesday of the Month, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
University Community Hospital in Carrolwood
Medical Arts Bldg., Tower Conference Room, 1st floor
7171 Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL 33614-2630
Contact: Gus Garcia