Hepatitis B

Formerly known as serum hepatitis, this disorder is due to the hepatitis B virus, which is transmitted in infected blood, blood products, or other body fluids, often through contact with needles, blood transfusions, or sexual contact. After an incubation period of 1–6 months, the onset of symptoms, such as headache, fever, and jaundice, is sudden. Most patients recover, but hepatitis B can be fatal. A vaccine is available. In about 5 percent of cases, the virus continues to cause inflammation and can still be detected in the blood 6 months after infection. People who suffer from persistent infection are at long-term risk of liver cancer and cirrhosis and may be treated with interferon.


Online Medical Dictionary: Your essential reference to over 5000 medical terms.