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Can I get rid of hepatitis B completely?

Saturday, 15 December 2007
Answered by: Dr. Anuj Sharma
Senior Consultant Microbiologist
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
Delhi
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Q. I am a 33-year-old male suffering from hepatitis B infection. I am undergoing treatment and the doctor said that it is curable, so there is no reason to worry. Will I recover fully?

A.  The symptoms of acute hepatitis B infection develop within 1-6 months of when you first become infected with the virus, and include feeling sick, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and feeling generally unwell. Some people develop jaundice (Peelia). This is due to build-up of bilirubin, which is made in the liver and spills into the blood in some liver conditions. Your urine also becomes dark yellow, your stools may go pale, and you tend to itch. In nearly half the cases, no symptoms or only mild symptoms develop in the acute phase and it may be called sub-clinical and may go off unnoticed, and you may not be aware that you have been infected with hepatitis B. After the initial acute phase, in 90% of adults, the virus is cleared from the body by the immune system within 3-6 months. Therefore, you are no longer infectious and are immune to further infection. In up to 10% of adults, the virus persists in the body leading to chronic hepatitis B infection, and this may occur whether or not you have symptoms in the acute phase. Therefore, you have a 90% chance of full recovery and clearing the virus without any treatment. The management of cases of acute hepatitis B infection is supportive / symptomatic.

A.  The symptoms of acute hepatitis B infection develop within 1-6 months of when you first become infected with the virus, and include feeling sick, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and feeling generally unwell. Some people develop jaundice (Peelia). This is due to build-up of bilirubin, which is made in the liver and spills into the blood in some liver conditions. Your urine also becomes dark yellow, your stools may go pale, and you tend to itch. In nearly half the cases, no symptoms or only mild symptoms develop in the acute phase and it may be called sub-clinical and may go off unnoticed, and you may not be aware that you have been infected with hepatitis B. After the initial acute phase, in 90% of adults, the virus is cleared from the body by the immune system within 3-6 months. Therefore, you are no longer infectious and are immune to further infection. In up to 10% of adults, the virus persists in the body leading to chronic hepatitis B infection, and this may occur whether or not you have symptoms in the acute phase. Therefore, you have a 90% chance of full recovery and clearing the virus without any treatment. The management of cases of acute hepatitis B infection is supportive / symptomatic.

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