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Hepatitis B Treatment (cont.)

Hepatitis B Risks

Adults with a normal immune system who acquire hepatitis B have approximately a 95% chance of eventually eliminating the virus and making a complete recovery. During the weeks that the body is fighting the virus, the person may be very sick and a few (< 1%) may even die. Patients who do not clear the virus are chronically infected. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one million Americans are chronically infected with HBV.

As discussed above, chronic infection with hepatitis B can cause cirrhosis, liver failure, or even death. Patients with chronic hepatitis B infection are also at risk for liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). Between 15% and 25% of people with chronic infection will die prematurely from complications of hepatitis B. In the United States, chronic HBV infection causes approximately 2,000 to 4,000 deaths per year.

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