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Are you at risk? A serious liver infection, hepatitis B, could be a health threat to you.

hepatitis B -- what

is it?

* a serious infection of the liver

* caused by a virus

* spread by contact with infected body fluids (blood, saliva, semen) or infected needles

* can cause permanent liver damage

hepatitis B

cannot be

cured -- but

a vaccine

to help protect

against it

is available.

the U.S. toll:

* 200,000 new cases a year

* 10,000 victims a year hospitalized

* 1,000,000 carriers of the disease in the U.S.

* 4,000 deaths a year from cirrhosis of the liver caused by hepatitis B

* 800 deaths a year from cancer of the liver caused by hepatitis B

others at risk.

* residents and staff of institution for the mentally retarded

* patients and staff in kidney dialysis centers

* Asian and Haitian refugees, Alaskan Eskimos

* users of illicit injectable drugs

symptoms:

* no symptoms in half of cases--many become carriers without knowing it.

* fever, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting.

* in one-fourth of all cases, yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice), a sign of liver malfunction

vaccine facts:

* generally well tolerated, but some risk of side effects

* must be prescribed by a doctor

* means of prevention only, not treatment

you may be

at risk if you:

* work in a health care job

* serve as an emergency medical, fire, or rescue worker

* share sex with many partners

if you are at risk:

* ask your doctor about being tested for hepatitis B and for information about the vaccine.

* You may also call the American Liver Foundation, 800-223-0179.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Liver Foundation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Publication:Pamphlet by: American Liver Foundation
Article Type:pamphlet
Date:Sep 23, 1991
Words:250
Previous Article:Biliary atresia.
Next Article:Cirrhosis; many causes.
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