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Hepatitis B is an infectious illness caused by Hepatitis B virus (HBV) which infects the liver of humans, and causes an inflammation called hepatitis. Hepatitis B is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world and is passed from one person to the other through body fluids. Hepatitis B infections are either acute or chronic.
Acute infections can last between a few weeks and a few months. It is possible to recover from acute hepatitis B on your own. The infected person can remain healthy without any symptoms while the virus clears from the body. Some will not even know they have been infected. However, until the virus completely gone from the body, it is able to be passed on to others. Chronic hepatitis B is much more serious; if you contract this strain of the disease it will be with you throughout your life and there is a chance you will go on to develop permanent scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis, and you may eventually develop liver cancer.
Symptoms are similar to those of hepatitis A, which include:
For chronic hepatitis B infection there are 2 different types of treatment interferon and anti-viral drugs.
Interferon is a protein that is naturally produced by your body in response to a viral infection. It works by preventing the virus multiplying inside your cells. Injections of Interferon will prevent further damage to your liver.
There can be side effects to taking this treatment, including flu like symptoms, especially in the early stages. These side effects can be severe, so they are not suitable for long-term treatment.
Antiviral drugs can also help to stop the virus from multiplying in your body. They include:
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