The risk factors and first symptoms of hepatitis B

By Toby Tunwase

Hepatitis B is a severe infection of the liver as a result of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can become a chronic infection for certain people lasting more than six months, increasing the risk for further liver complications. Some adults can fully recover from the virus even if symptoms of the disease are severe. The infection is more likely to become chronic in children.

There is no cure for hepatitis B infection, but a vaccine can prevent it. Once infected, the disease can only be managed.

The risk factors of hepatitis B infection

The infection spreads through blood contact, body fluids or semen from an infected person

Having unprotected sex

Shared needles

Same-sex intercourse

Living with someone with chronic disease

Being born to an infected mother

Having jobs that expose and brings you in contact with human blood

Traveling to places with a high rate of infection.

Symptoms of hepatitis B infection

Symptoms range from mild to severe. They include

•    Abdominal pain

•    Fever

•    Dark urine

•    Nausea and vomiting

•    Weakness and fatigue

•    Jaundice

•    Joint pain

Acute and chronic hepatitis B

•    Acute hepatitis B infection

This usually lasts less than six months. Your immune system can clear or deal with severe hepatitis B infection. Recover time is within a few months. Failure of the immune system to remove it quickly leads to chronic hepatitis B infection

Chronic hepatitis B infection

It lasts beyond six months. It is usually a result of the failure of the immune system to clear the infection quickly. Chronic hepatitis B infection is capable of lasting a lifetime and results in more liver complications such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver.


The vaccine for the infection is taken as three to four injection taken over six months

The following people are expected to get vaccinated


Children and adolescents not vaccinated at birth

People who live with someone with the infection

People with chronic liver disease

People who have same-sex intercourse

People who work at places where they come in contact with blood or fluids of people

Anyone with HIV

People who want to travel to areas with a high rate of infection