Hepatitis B is a liver disease. It can be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis B usually goes away on its own and may not need treatment.
Chronic hepatitis B is an infection that lasts more than six months. Chronic infection can lead to other health problems. Hepatitis B is treated with antiviral medications.
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Hepatitis B is caused a virus. The virus causes swelling and irritation in the liver and makes it difficult for the liver to function normally.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread by semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, blood, or body fluids from an infected person. The virus can pass from these fluids to your body through an open cut in your skin.
A woman with hepatitis can also pass HBV to her baby during childbirth.
Last reviewedMay 2013by Marcin Chwistek, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.