What Are The Causes of Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B can cause acute and chronic conditions in patients. Hepatitis B is a highly contagious disease. Transmission of hepatitis B can be through contact with blood or other body fluids of the patient. Your risk will be higher if you do not have immunity to this disease.
General Risk Factors
Many people do not realize that they are infected. Here are some things that can increase your risk of developing hepatitis B:
- Share toothbrushes, shavers, and towels that are already contaminated with infected blood.
- Using illegal drugs and sharing needles.
- Having sex with drug users who use and share syringes.
- Has an open wound and contact with infected blood.
- Work and deal with blood. Paramedics and laboratory staff have a higher risk of accidental impalement of a used syringe.
- Underwent blood transfusions in clinics or hospitals that did not check blood for hepatitis B. All blood to be used in transfusions should be tested for various diseases, including hepatitis B.
- Treatment or dental treatment at a clinic or hospital with non-sterile equipment.
- Body piercing or tattooing in places where the equipment is not sterile.
Body fluids are one of the major intermediates in transmission of hepatitis B. You are also at risk of developing this disease if:
- Having unprotected sex (including oral sex and anal sex), especially if your partner is already infected.
- Having more than one sexual partner.
- Commercial sex workers (women or men) are also at high risk of contracting hepatitis B.
Risk Factors Geographically
Geographical factors also have an important role in the transmission of hepatitis B. Areas with the highest number of cases of hepatitis B include Southeast Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southern Europe.
If you or your sexual partner had lived long in one of these areas, you are at high risk for Hepatitis B. Therefore you should be alert and recommended to receive vaccinations.
Transmission from Mother to Infant
If the pregnant woman is exposed to hepatitis B, her baby may be infected during pregnancy or at birth. Pregnant women are advised to undergo a blood test so that hepatitis B can be detected immediately.
Transmission of hepatitis B from mother to baby can still be prevented. The trick is to give the hepatitis B vaccine to the baby at birth (preferably within 12 hours). Breastfeeding may also be done if the baby has received the vaccine at birth.