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Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus. Discover the signs and symptoms, causes and treatment for hepatitis B.

Key points

  • Hepatitis B is an infection due to a virus called hepatitis B virus. You can protect yourself and your family from hepatitis B by getting the proper vaccination.
  • Children can get hepatitis B if they come in contact with the blood or bodily fluids of someone who has hepatitis B. This can happen around the time of birth, by having unprotected sexual contact, contact with contaminated needles or, very rarely, by sharing items which may be contaminated with blood (such as toothbrushes, nail clippers and razors).
  • Hepatitis B cannot be spread to other people by hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing or breastfeeding. However, if you are breastfeeding and have cracked or bleeding nipples, talk to your health-care team.
  • When the infection stays in the body for a long time, this is called chronic hepatitis B. Many children with chronic hepatitis B will not have any symptoms unless they have developed liver damage.
  • If your child has chronic hepatitis, they should be seen by a health-care provider regularly to monitor their general health and the health of their liver. As your child gets older, your health-care provider can help to provide teaching for your child about hepatitis B.
Last updated: May 27th 2022