At the end of this tutorial, participants are expected to achieve the following:
recognise the common symptoms of hepatitis B infection
enumerate the common modes of transmission of hepatitis B
be able to discuss prevention methods of this viral illness
to learn what to do, should someone or they are exposed to the virus
appreciate the treatment of hepatitis B
provide information to those they are involved in their care, regarding what to expect, if one were to be diagnosed with hepatitis B
Lets jump into the course ...
For many, it sends shivers down the spine. For some, it makes no sense at all.
Yes, I am talking about hepatitis B.
This disease is caused by a virus called hepatitis B virus.
At least 2 billion people have been infected by it globally.
Almost 400 million people have hepatitis B virus infection chronically, suggesting that they are at risk of dying from its complications.
The causes of death from chronic hepatitis B infection include end stage liver disease (cirrhosis) and or liver cancer. Fortunately, a large number of persons infected by this virus would not progress to the aforementioned complications, but they would require monitoring in order to anticipate and manage, if any evidence of progression of disease.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B virus Infection
In most cases, people get to know that they have been infected by hepatitis B virus only when they have undergone a blood test for a different purpose. In order words, they are asymptomatic.
Majority of patients with chronic infection do not present with symptoms.
In the acute stage (means, infection during the initial 6 months of infection), several symptoms may manifest (these are shown in the figure).
Transmission of Hepatitis B virus Infection
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted via blood and sexual fluids. Modes of transmission and annotated information is as displayed in the accompanying figure.
Prevention of Hepatitis B virus Infection
Patients at risk of infection are the targets of prevention. Scroll through the slides and learn common methods of prevention that should work in each case.
What to do
It is not unusual for people that are newly diagnosed with hepatitis B to feel perplexed about the next step. A few suggestions are available in this slide.
A common question I get regarding hepatitis B virus infection is whether or not there is a cure.
People are disappointed when they are informed that hepatitis B is treatable, but not curable. Indeed, it is not all infected persons that would actually require treatment.
Important points to note include:
All patients will need to:
a. avoid alcohol
b. avoid smoking
c. avoid taking drugs indiscriminately
d. eat balanced diet
2. Those with chronic infection (infection lasting more that 6 weeks) will need one of 2 approaches (sometimes, both):
a. Monitor for progression of disease
b. Have treatment, using a potent antiviral medication (Tenofovir, for adults)
3. Patients with acute infection (lasting less than 6 months) - these would need supportive management only.
What to expect
Damaged liver, with cancerous change in some cases