Hepatitis B is disease that millions suffer from but is on the decline.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth.
The disease can be acute for some but long term for others, depending on the severity.
In 2014, a total of 2,953 cases of acute hepatitis B were reported from 48 states to CDC. The overall incidence rate for 2014 was 0.9 cases per 100,000 population. After adjusting for under-ascertainment and under-reporting, an estimated 19,200 acute hepatitis B cases occurred in 2014.
In the United States, one in 12 Asian Americans is chronically infected with hepatitis B in comparison to one in 1000 non-Hispanic Whites, according to the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University. While Asian Americans constitute only 4 percent of the population in the United States, they comprise over half of the nation’s 1.2-2 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B. This is one of the greatest racial health disparities in America.
An estimated 850,000 to 2.2 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis B virus infection. However, the rate of new people being diagnosed with Hepatitis B is decreasing. The rate of new HBV infections has declined by approximately 82 percent since 1991, when a national strategy to eliminate HBV infection was implemented in the United States. The decline has been greatest among children born since 1991, when routine vaccination of children was first recommended.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pains and dark urine. They usually begin after 90 days of being exposed to it.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is being vaccinated for it. People can get vaccinated for it as soon as they are an infant. This should be discussed with a doctor to make sure to prevent any allergic reactions.
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