The best way to prevent hepatitis B infection is to get vaccinated .A person needs to be administered three injections over a period of six-month .Combination vaccines against hepatitis A and hepatitis B are also available. Combination vaccines for the paediatric age group that protect against HBV, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis) and poliovirus are also available.
The vaccines against hepatitis B are recommended for infants and children, all adults over 18 years old who not been vaccinated previously, partners or household contacts of patients who are infected with hepatitis B virus , people having multiple sexual partners , drug users , people with other sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis C or HIV, people in high risk jobs such as health workers , doctors ,nurses and clinical laboratory personnel , people undergoing haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis .The vaccine is in fact recommended for everyone
To check the efficacy or the effectiveness of the vaccine estimation of antibody to hepatitis B is done. Values more than 10 mIU/ml are required for immunity. If the values are less than this, then a booster dose of the vaccine is recommended. Booster doses are also recommended for r haemodialysis and immune compromised patients.
Annual anti-HBs testing is recommended especially for patients who are at high risk such as medical professionals or people who are in touch with or are taking care of hepatitis B virus positive individuals .
Hepatitis B booster doses are not needed in those who have a normal immune status
Other precautions to be taken to prevent the spread of hepatitis B virus are – practising safe sex, not using contaminated needles and not sharing used needles, toothbrushes, razors. Needles used for body piercing and tattoos should also not be shared.
Hepatitis B virus can survive up to seven days outside the body.
If a non-vaccinated, non-immune person is exposed to hepatitis B due to unsafe sexual exposure or needle stick injury, a single injection of hepatitis B immune globulin can be given to prevent the infection. This immunoglobulin provides immediate, short-term protection. The hepatitis B vaccine should also be given with this immunoglobulin for long term immunity
Infants whose mothers are hepatitis B positive are prone to getting hepatitis transmitted to them from the mothers. These infants should also receive hepatitis B immunoglobulin and should also be vaccinated.
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