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Hepatitis B (cont.)

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a vaccine against the hepatitis B virus (Engerix-B, Recombivax HB). It is safe and works well to prevent the disease. A total of 3 doses of the vaccine are given over several months. Hepatitis B vaccine is also produced as a combination product which includes other common childhood vaccinations. This can reduce the number of shots that a child needs at a single visit.

The following groups should be vaccinated for hepatitis B:

  • All children younger than 19 years, including all newborns - especially those born to mothers who are infected with HBV
  • All health care and public safety workers who may be exposed to blood
  • People who have hemophilia or other blood clotting disorders and receive transfusions of human clotting factors
  • People who have end-stage renal disease including those who require hemodialysis for kidney disease
  • Travelers to countries where HBV infection is common. This includes most areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, China and Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, and the Amazon River basin of South America.
  • People who are in prison
  • People who live or work in residential facilities for developmentally disabled persons
  • People who inject illegal drugs
  • People with chronic liver disease such as hepatitis C
  • People who have multiple sex partners or have ever had a sexually transmitted disease
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Persons with HIV
  • People who have a sexual partner who is an HBV carrier.
  • Household contacts of persons who are carriers of HBV.
  • Anyone who wants to be vaccinated, regardless of risk factors.

Hepatitis B immune globulin (BayHep B, Nabi-HB) is given along with the hepatitis B vaccine to unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis B.

  • These include close contacts of people with HBV infection, health care workers who are exposed to HBV-contaminated blood, and infants born to mothers infected with HBV.
  • Giving the immune globulin and the vaccine together in these situations prevents transmission of the disease in 80% to 90% percent of cases.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Hepatitis B »

In 1965, Blumberg et al reported the discovery of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), also known as Australia antigen, and its antibody, hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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