DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, meaning it lasts more than six months. Having chronic hepatitis B increases your risk of developing liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis — a condition that causes permanent scarring of the liver.
Most people infected with hepatitis B as adults recover fully, even if their signs and symptoms are severe. Infants and children are more likely to develop a chronic hepatitis B infection. A vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, but there's no cure if you have it. If you're infected, taking certain precautions can help prevent spreading HBV to others.
Aug. 29, 2014
- Lok ASF. Clinical manifestations and natural history of hepatitis B virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Lok ASF. Diagnosis of hepatitis B virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Patient information: Hepatitis B (the basics). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2014.
- Hepatitis B FAQs for the public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/B/bFAQ.htm. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Hepatitis B. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/#. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Lok ASF. Overview of management of hepatitis B and case examples. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2014.
- Wang XY, et al. Emerging antivirals for treatment of hepatitis B. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014;20:1777.