Vaccines and Preventable Diseases:
Hepatitis B In-Short
A disease of the liver caused by hepatitis B virus
Potentially none when first infected (likelihood of early symptoms decreases with the person's age)
If present: yellow skin or eyes, tiredness, stomach ache, loss of appetite, nausea, or joint pain
The younger the person, the greater the likelihood of staying infected and having life-long liver problems, such as scarring of the liver and liver cancer
Spread through contact with the blood of an infected person or by having sex with an infected person
Hepatitis B vaccine is will prevent this disease.
Does my child need this vaccine?
- All children should get their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth and should have completed the vaccine series by 6 through 18 months of age.
- Children and adolescents through 18 years of age who did not get the vaccine when they were younger should also be vaccinated.
As an adult, do I need this vaccine?
You should get the hepatitis B vaccine if:
- You have sex with or live in the same house as a person with hepatitis B virus infection.
- You have sex with more than one partner.
- You seek care in a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing or treatment, or drug treatment.
- You are a man who has sex with other men.
- You inject drugs.
- You have a job that involves contact with human blood*.
- You are on the staff of, or a client in, an institution for the developmentally disabled*.
- You are a hemodialysis patient or have end-stage renal disease.
- You have HIV infection.
- You are a dialysis patient.
- You have chronic liver disease.
- You have diabetes and are under age 60.
- You live or travel for more than 6 months a year in countries where hepatitis B is common.
- You seek care in a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing, or drug treatment.
- You are a prisoner in a correctional facility.
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Content last reviewed on May 29, 2007
Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases