Hepatitis B

Statistically speaking 5-10% adults who are infected with Hepatitis B will develop into acute hepatitis or become carriers. This form of hepatitis is also spread by blood-to-blood contact or by sexual contact. It’s most commonly spread by sexual contact between partners and from an infected mother to her child during birth. Needle sharing are less common causes of infection. The virus can be spread by semen and vaginal fluid as well as blood. Hepatitis B can either develop into acute Hepatitis, or it is able to convert from acute hepatitis to chronic hepatitis. Before showing any symptoms, the infection may incubate for several months. This is a highly infectious period. The person could pass the infection to others unknowingly.
The average hepatitis B incubation period is 120 days, but it can range from 45 to 160 days.
The early symptoms and signs of hepatitis B are nonspecific and resemble those of a flu. These include mild fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, loss of appetite, distaste to cigarette, nausea and diarrhea. As the condition turns worse, the skin and the 'white' of the eyes will become yellow in color. At the same time, the urine also gets darker, almost tea-like. This is called “jaundice”.
A more common occurrence is chronic Hepatitis B. The infected person may not know he or she has the disease because there may not be any symptoms for years.
How do I find out if I am infected with Hepatitis B? As hepatitis B share the common symptoms as the flu, therefore blood test is the only method to determine whether a person is infected with hepatitis B


There are also effective vaccines for hepatitis A and B available in Hong Kong. Since 1988, the Hong Kong government has started the universal neonate hepatitis B vaccination program. You should consult with your physician whether you can benefit from these vaccinations. Currently, there is no definitive effective cure for hepatitis B, yet there is adopted medication to combat against hepatitis B virus. After the treatment, it’s possible to lower the level of virus below a detectable threshold.
Also, some studies have shown that some recovered acute or chronic hepatitis B patients will be immune to the virus for life. Hepatitis B carrier is a term used to describe those who have hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in the blood for more than 6 months yet there are no symptoms and are unaware of their status as Hepatitis B carrier. Physicians will carry out a series of investigations such as blood tests to ascertain the diagnosis and will recommend appropriate treatment regimen depending on the patient's condition.

Hepatitis C

similar types of symptoms.
Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact with someone infected with HCV. It can be spread through: organ transplants, blood transfusions, sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes, sharing needles, child birth (from a mother with hepatitis C to her baby), sexual contact if blood is exchanged. The average hepatitis C incubation period is 45 days, but it can range from 14 to 180 days.
Your doctor may order a series of blood tests to check for signs of HCV infection. There are also blood tests that can also measure the amount of HCV in your blood if you’re infected. A genotyping test can be used to find out the hepatitis C genotype you have. This information will help determine which treatment will work best for you. If your doctor thinks you have liver damage, they’ll order a liver function test to check your blood for signs of heightened enzymes from your liver.

Treatment of hepatitis C

Not everyone infected with hepatitis C will need treatment. For some people, their immune systems may be able to fight the infection well enough to clear the infection from their bodies. If this is the case for you, your doctor will monitor your liver function with regular blood tests. For people with immune systems that can’t clear the infection, there are several options for treating hepatitis C. Treatment is usually reserved for people with serious liver damage and scarring, and no other conditions that prevent treatment. Your doctor may provide antiviral drugs for either hepatitis B or C. You may also receive treatment designed to protect the liver and provide greater comfort. A combination of drugs can help clear the hepatitis C virus from your system. The recommended combination depends on the virus genotype.

Hepatitis C vaccine

Unfortunately, right now there’s no hepatitis C vaccine. However, there are many other ways to prevent getting hepatitis C. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there’s no vaccine for hepatitis C, although efforts to create one continue.
If you have been diagnosed with viral hepatitis, there are several ways to stay healthy:
  • Avoid alcohol which is harmful to your liver.
  • Maintain a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits,        and avoid fatty food.
  • Exercise regularly with advice from your physician.
  • Have adequate rest. Do not exhaust yourself.
  • Do not take any non-prescribed drugs. Many drugs have a damaging effect    on the liver.
  • If you are a hepatitis B carrier, your sexual partner may consider to take a blood test and see if any hepatitis B vaccine is needed.