Gladys Maria Shafer
February 19, 2013
Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver, which is swelling that occurs when the tissues of the body become injured or infected. “Hepa” means liver and “itis” refers to inflammation. The Hepatitis B virus spreads through blood or direct contact with any body fluids from someone who already has a Hepatitis B infection and the virus enters the body unnoticed (Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). Hepatitis B vaccine is important because the disease is considered an occupational threat to healthcare workers like us who have high risk of blood exposure and other body fluids. The vaccine will protect us from exposure to contaminated blood or body fluids and protect us from getting the liver infection that causes Hepatitis B, which is considered a life threatening disease. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention or CDC (2009) indicates that acute Hepatitis B is a short term illness and it lasts up to 6 months while chronic Hepatitis B is a long term disease and will remain inside the body. So, the vaccine shot defends against these illnesses of both acute and chronic viral infections. According to CDC and Prevention (2009), there are 3 common types of hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. These diseases are cause by viruses. Each disease has similar signs and symptoms, but every virus has a different method of transmission, and it affects the liver in a different way. Since Hepatitis A is acute, it will not develop into a chronic disease. A person diagnosed with Hepatitis A improves without medication; however, Hepatitis B and C start with acute infections and become chronic over a period of time because the virus stays inside the person’s body. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention or CDC (2009) and World Health Organization or WHO (2013) indicate that there is a vaccine for Hepatitis A and B; unfortunately, there is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C. The number of acute Hepatitis B cases in the United States is very low, and the illness goes away after 2-3 weeks and the patient returns to normal again. Moreover, acute hepatitis requires no need of further treatment other than careful monitoring of their liver, and other body functions with blood tests, according to National Center for Biotechnology Information (2013). National Center for Biotechnology Information (2013) encourages acute hepatitis patients to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and to have healthy diets. However, chronic Hepatitis B patients are estimated from 800,000 to 1.4 million people who have been diagnosed with long term liver infection (CDC and Prevention, 2009). Around the globe, more than 240 million people have chronic disease and there are an estimated of 620,000 deaths each year (CDC and Prevention, 2009). The World Health Organization (2013) shows that Hepatitis B is commonly found in Asian and Pacific island nations; in addition, the eastern and central part of Europe and developing countries like South America and Africa have a high rate of chronic infections. When planning travel to other countries where hepatitis B is common, try to get the vaccines before going on a trip abroad. The WHO (2013) explains that the common symptoms of Hepatitis B are: ➢ fever, abdominal pain, and joint pain
➢ fatigue and loss of appetite
➢ yellowing of eyes and skin (also known as jaundice) ➢ nausea and vomiting
➢ dark color urine and clay colored bowel movements. For some people, the chronic Hepatitis B shows few signs. Others have no indication of symptoms and as a result they do not know that they already have the virus inside their body; however, they may still spread the disease to others. But over the time, people who are considered to be a “carrier” may start showing the symptoms of chronic...