Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is a serious and contagious disease that affects the liver. Hepatitis B can lead to lifelong infection, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. There is no cure for hepatitis B.
There are approximately 1.25 million chronically infected Americans:
Hepatitis B is contagious and spread when the blood or other body fluids of a person with the virus are absorbed into an individual's blood stream, either through broken skin or a mucous membrane. The hepatitis B virus can live in all body fluids of an infected person, including blood, saliva, semen, and vaginal fluids. It can enter the body through cuts, tears, or abrasions in the skin and through mucous membranes of the mouth, vagina, anus, and eyes.
Anyone who comes in contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person is at risk for hepatitis B. Certain behaviors can increase the risk, including:
Using latex or polyurethane condoms during sex may prevent Hepatitis B. If you decide to get a tattoo or body piercing, make sure you know that sterile equipment is being used. Avoid sharing razors, earrings, and toothbrushes. Don't share needles to inject drugs of any kind. Get immunized.http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/b/index.htm
There is a safe and effective vaccine available to prevent against hepatitis B. The vaccine series is given in the arm, in three doses over a six-month period. It is important to get all three doses for full protection against hepatitis B. The vaccine is 96% effective upon completion of all three doses. The most common side effect of the vaccine is soreness at the site of injection. Other mild side effects such as fever, headache, and nausea are rare. You cannot get the disease from the vaccine. For most people, the hepatitis B vaccine's series of three shots provides protection for a lifetime.
Hepatitis B vaccine is available at the Student Health Services. The cost is $30.00 per injection ($90.00 for the series of three) which may be paid at the time of administration or can be billed to your account. If you are interested in receiving the vaccination or would like to further discuss immunization with a health care provider please call 342-1891 to schedule an appointment time. Your home health care provider may also have the vaccination available.
Since 1997-98 the Wisconsin school vaccination requirements for K-12 have included the requirement for the Hepatitis B vaccination series. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for everyone 18 years of age and under, and anyone at high risk for hepatitis B. The American College Health Association (ACHA) recommends that all college students be vaccinated. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recommends vaccination of all student athletes.
As with any vaccine, vaccination against hepatitis B may not protect 100% of the susceptible individuals.http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/b/index.htm