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Serum - Protection from birth onwards

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.