How is hepatitis B spread?
If you live with
someone who has hepatitis B it is essential that you are
aware of the virus and how it is spread. Like the AIDS
virus, HBV is found in body fluids such as blood, semen,
and vaginal secretions.
How can I prevent it?
There is no cure for
HBV, but there is a safe and effective vaccine.
Every person in your house hold should be vaccinated
against HBV. If your spouse or sexual partner is a
carrier of HBV, you should be vaccinated immediately,
since the disease is passed through blood and sexual
How do I know the vaccine worked?
The vaccine is
extremely effective, but, if you request it, your doctor
can test to see if the vaccine worked for you .
Following your vaccination, ask your doctor to test your
blood to ensure the vaccine has worked for you. Your
doctor will do a blood test to see if you have
antibodies to Hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) and
are protected against HBV.
Can I be infected and not even know it?
Hepatitis B is known
as the "Silent Infection" because carriers of
HBV may not become noticeably sick and may not realize
they have the disease. Many people do not have symptoms
when they are first infected. After an incubation period
of anywhere from 40 to 140 days, about one-half of
infected adults do experience some symptoms.
Either way, whether they have symptoms or not, they can
pass the virus onto others.
If you live with an
HBV carrier, do not share personal items such as
toothbrushes, nail clippers, pierced earrings, or
If your son or
daughter has Hepatitis B, see our "Advice
In case of an
accident, always follow strict disinfection procedures.
Wear latex or rubber gloves when cleaning up spills of
blood, vomit, or other bodily secretions. Keep a diluted
solution of bleach (one part bleach to nine parts water)
in a spray bottle around the house. If blood is spilled,
spray the area with the bleach, allow to stand for one
minute and wipe clean. If blood is spilled on clothing,
the clothing should be washed in a diluted solution of
bleach. Household alcohol, such as rubbing alcohol will
also kill the virus. Discard the towels or cleaning
materials in a plastic bag and tie the bag securely.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after
cleaning blood spills.
procedures should be followed when accidents happen with
anyone's blood and secretions, not just a carrier's
blood and secretions.
Resource: Hepatitis B
700 East Butler Avenue, Doylestown, PA 18901-2697