Hepatitis-B
Frequently ask questions

  1. What is Hepatitis B?
  2. How does one get infected with Hepatitis B virus?
  3. Is Hepatitis B infection a serious problem in India?
  4. What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B infection?
  5. What test needs to be conducted to determine Hepatitis B status?
  6. Is any treatment available for this infection?
  7. What is Hepatitis B vaccination?
  8. What are the different Hepatitis B vaccines available in our country?
  9. Is 'GeneVac-B' safe?
  10. How effective is 'GeneVac-B'?
  11. Does 'GeneVac-B' vaccination produce any side effects?
  12. What is the vaccination course of 'GeneVac-B'?
  13. In which packs are 'GeneVac-B' available?
  14. How is 'GeneVac-B' vaccine to be stored?
 

What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver caused by a virus infection. The virus causes destruction of the liver tissue and may lead to liver cancer later in life. In our country eight in every ten cases of liver cancer is due to Hepatitis B virus infection. Humans are the only known reservoir of this infection.
The threat to the community posed by hepatitis B is much more in comparison to HIV - the virus that causes AIDS. In fact, Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than AIDS and kills more people in a day than AIDS kills in a year.
Liver disease due to Hepatitis B infection is considered to be the fourth or fifth important cause of mortality in the most productive years of life. In fact, it is regarded as the second most important cancer-causing agent - next only to tobacco.

How does one get infected with Hepatitis B virus?
There are a millions of 'carriers' of the Hepatitis B virus, who appear to be normal and healthy but can transmit the virus to others. Various instruments contaminated with the infected blood or body fluids of such 'carriers' can transmit the virus to a healthy person. Thus the use of unsterilised needles for injections, ear piercing and tattooing, unsterilised instruments during operation or wound suturing and infected blood used during transfusion can put an individual at high risk of acquiring the Hepatitis B virus.

Is Hepatitis B infection a serious problem in India?
In India it is found that one in every twenty persons in our population is a Hepatitis B virus 'carrier'. Accidental contacts with such 'carriers', who are unaware about the virus they are harbouring, can transmit the virus to others. Hence a constant risk of acquiring this infection exists in our country.
But there is a definite group of individuals who are at high-risk. They are:
At high-risk due to daily practice:
· All Medical Personnel.
· All Para-medical personnel such as Nurses, Staff members of pathological labs, Blood banks, Dialysis units and Cancer units.
At high-risk due to sexual and social habits:
· Heterosexuals with multiple sex partners, homosexuals and prostitutes.
· Intravenous drug users.
· People whom have themselves tattooed.
· People who play contact sports.
At high-risk due to illness:
· Patients like Thalassemics and Haemophiliacs who receive blood or blood related products.
· Patients on dialysis.
Others
· Infants born to Hepatitis B infected mothers.
· Family members of Hepatitis B virus 'carriers'.

What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B infection?
Majority of infants and children infected with Hepatitis B do not show any signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B infection.
In the case of adults, a small number of individuals may not show any signs and symptoms. Others initially develop flu like symptoms such as:
· Loss of appetite
· Tiredness
· Chills and mild fever
· Body ache
· And later Jaundice - yellowness of skin and eyes, Pale feces, Dark urine.

What test needs to be conducted to determine Hepatitis B status?
A simple blood test called the Australia antigen test will help determine whether one is infected with the Hepatitis B virus.

Is any treatment available for this infection?
Unfortunately no. Only vaccination against the Hepatitis B virus can prevent this infection. Recently interferons have been tried in certain selected patients of Hepatitis B and found to have variable results.

What is Hepatitis B vaccination?
The Hepatitis B vaccination course comprises of 3 injections to be given at definite intervals over a period of 6 months. After vaccination, the body will be able to produce substances called antibodies, which will protect against Hepatitis B infection.

What are the different Hepatitis B vaccines available in our country?
There are two types of Hepatitis B vaccines available:
Plasma derived- Manufactured using blood and blood-products and
Genetically engineered - where no blood and blood-products are used to manufacture this vaccine. ('GeneVac-B', is manufactured using third generation recombinant DNA technology).

Is 'GeneVac-B' safe?
'GeneVac-B', is a genetically engineered Hepatitis B vaccine and is found to be safe.

How effective is 'GeneVac-B'?
Extensive clinical studies conducted have shown 'GeneVac-B' to be effective in protecting healthy individuals.
However, the vaccine efficacy varies in elderly subjects, chronic alcoholics, and smokers, obese individuals and immunocompromised subjects where the body defense response is found to be varying.

Does 'GeneVac-B' vaccination produce any side effects?
'GeneVac-B' recipients may experience mild and transient side effects such as soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site, as seen with all vaccines. These reactions generally subside within two days of vaccination.
'GeneVac-B' is contra-indicated in individuals who are hypersensitive to yeast or any other component of the vaccine.
In fact clinical trials conducted have shown low reactogenicity, low incidence of pain and swelling.
The recipients neither experienced systemic reactions nor GI disturbances.

What is the vaccination course of 'GeneVac-B'?
Recommended Schedules for Immunization
Primary Immunization
Dose:
Neonates / infants and Children under 10 years - A dose of 10 mcg
Adults and Children of 10 years and above-A dose of 20 mcg
I) Recommended Schedule for
*
Standard Immunization

0-1-6 months

Dose
Time
Adults and Children over 10 yr.
Children under 10 years
1st dose
0 month
20 mcg
10 mcg
2nd dose
1 month
20 mcg
10 mcg
3rd dose
6 month
20 mcg
10 mcg

II) Recommended Schedule for
· Neonates born of Hepatitis B infected mothers,
· Recently exposure to the virus
· Travelers to high-risk areas

0-1-2-12 months

 

Dose
Time
Adults and Children over 10 yr.
Children under 10 years
1st dose
0 month
20 mcg
10 mcg
2nd dose
1 month
20 mcg
10 mcg
3rd dose
2 month
20 mcg
10 mcg
1st Booster
12 month
20 mcg
10 mcg

III) Recommended Schedules for Boosters

IV) Recommended Schedules for Special Populations
· Immunocompromised patients
· Chronic renal failure

High Dose
0-1-2-6-12 months


Dose Timings
Time
Dose
1st dose
0 month
40 mcg
2nd dose
1 month
40 mcg
3rd dose
2 month
40 mcg
4th dose
6 month
40 mcg
5th dose
12 month
40 mcg

The immunization schedule should be adapted in order to ensure that the anti-HBs antibody titre remains above the accepted protective levels of 10 IU/L.

In which packs are 'GeneVac-B' available?
'GeneVac-B' is available in four packs:
· 10 ml MD Vial:- Contains 20 micrograms of the Hepatitis B surface antigen per ml. (10 Adult doses)
· 5 ml MD Vial: - Contains 20 micrograms of the Hepatitis B surface antigen per ml. (10 Paediatric doses / 5 Adult doses)
· 1 ml SD Vial:- Contains 20 micrograms of the Hepatitis B surface antigen per ml. (1 Adult dose).
· 0.5 ml Paediatric SD Vial:- Contains 10 micrograms of Hepatitis B surface antigen in 0.5 ml. (1 Paediatric dose)
SD - Single Dose, MD - Multi dose

How is 'GeneVac-B' vaccine to be stored?
Like other vaccines, 'GeneVac-B' also needs to be stored between +2C to +8C in the refrigerator. The vaccine should not be frozen. Once frozen, the vaccine should be discarded. The vaccine vial should be shaken well before use.
Consult Your Doctor Today For Hepatitis B Vaccination



Copyright 2014 Serum Institute of India Limited. Legal Disclaimer.