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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than AIDS, and the incidence of it has almost tripled in the last 10 years, particularly among young adults.

Some people die of Hepatitis B, and it is the world's leading cause of liver cancer. Currently, 250,000 Canadians are infected and more than 300 new cases are reported in Ontario alone each year.


What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by a virus and can result in permanent liver damage and scarring. Most people fight off Hepatitis B and develop antibodies to the virus, but up to ten per cent become carriers for life and can still pass the virus to others.

Hepatitis B is spread by contact with infected body fluids, especially blood, semen, vaginal secretions and possibly saliva.

To learn about the vaccine administration, eligibility, consent forms, and the school immunization schedule go to the Hepatitis B Clinic page.


Symptoms

Symptoms include tiredness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and sometimes jaundice (yellow skin and eyes).

However, more than half of the infected individuals never feel sick so they may spread the disease unknowingly.


Risks

People most at risk are those who have sexual contact with someone who is infected or a carrier. Condoms do not provide complete protection. You are also at risk if you share needles to inject drugs.

Babies of women carrying the virus may be infected during childbirth.


Resources

For more information, please refer to our Hepatitis B Fact Sheet or Hepatitis B Brochure to learn about the Hepatitis B vaccine and the disease.

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