Hepatitis B: How To Detect It

Hepatitis B is the most common form of acute and chronic viral hepatitis (liver inflammation). Exposure to any body fluids - especially semen and saliva - can transmit the virus.

The virus can also be transmitted through cuts or abrasions - and this is the reason for the American Academy of Pediatrics warning. Parents and children should also be aware that transmission is also possible via toothbrushing, ear piercing and tattooing.

The symptoms vary depending on the individual.

But they may include the following:

Loss of appetite
Abdominal pain
A yellowing of the skin and eyes
(This is known as jaundice.)
A change in color or blood in stools and urine
Lack of sex drive
Weight loss

There is no treatment other than supportive care. In severe cases, some patients develop significant liver failure and require a period of hospital treatment.

For more complete information, visit:

CBS News Healthwatch and American Liver Foundation Web sites.

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