Hepatitis B

How Is It Spread?

The virus is spread through infected bodily fluids. Among the bodily fluids that can transmit the hepatitis B virus are infected blood and blood products. It is also spread through contact with other infected bodily fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluids, or saliva.
Casual contact, as in the usual office, factory, or school setting, does not spread the virus. A person cannot get it from a kiss or other normal everyday activities, such as hugging or shaking hands.
(Click Hepatitis B Transmission for more information on how it is spread.)

Who's at Risk for Hepatitis B?

Some of the people who are at risk of developing hepatitis B include:
  • Those who have sex with an infected person
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Intravenous drug users
  • Children of immigrants from disease-endemic areas
  • Infants born to infected mothers
  • People who live with an infected person
  • Healthcare workers
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • People who received a transfusion of blood or blood products before July 1992
  • People who received clotting factors made before 1987
  • International travelers.

Incubation Period

Following transmission of the virus, a person does not immediately become sick. Once the virus enters the body, it travels to the liver, where it begins to multiply.
After 30 to 180 days, symptoms can begin. This period between hepatitis B transmission and the start of signs and symptoms is called the "hepatitis B incubation period."
(Click Hepatitis B Incubation Period for more information.)

What Is Hepatitis B?

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