Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause short-term (acute) illness that may lead to:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
  • Pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
  • It can also cause long-term (chronic) illness that may lead to:

  • Liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • Liver cancer
  • Death
  • About 1.25 million people in the U.S. have chronic HBV infection

    The Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B. It is the first anti-cancer vaccine because it can prevent a form of liver cancer.

    Who should take the Hepatitis B vaccine?

  • All infants should receive as part of their immunization schedule at pediatrician
  • Children and adolescents through 18 years of age who did not get the vaccine when they were younger
  • International travelers to certain areas for an extended period of time
  • People with jobs that may expose them to blood
  • people with chronic liver or kidney disease
  • Residents and staff in institutions for the developmentally disabled
  • Household contact of people infected with HBV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with more than one sex partner or partner with Hepatitis B
  • People who inject street drugs