Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B

A nasty bug which infects the liver and is passed on through bodily fluids. Look out for flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea, stomach pain and yellow skin and eyes.

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Key Facts around Hepatitis B

In 2019 around 820,000 people died as a result of hepatitis B (liver cirrhosis, liver carcinoma). 1


  • How do people catch this disease?

    • Hepatitis B is spread in blood and body fluids. It is caught through unprotected sex with someone infected with the virus, or through exposure to contaminated blood (for example, while injecting drugs).1,3
    • It can also be caught by sharing toothbrushes or razors or having body piercing or tattoos using unsterilized equipment.1,3
  • Which countries are affected?

    Hepatitis B is found in every country, but the risk is higher in South America, Africa, Russia and Asia (see map).2

  • What are the symptoms?

    Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and pain in the abdomen.1

  • How serious is the disease?

    • Hepatitis B is a serious disease. Though the initial symptoms generally pass within months, the virus can cause long-term and potentially fatal liver damage.1,3
    • New treatments can keep the virus under control.4
  • Can I reduce the chances of catching Hepatitis B?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit a travel health clinic to assess the risks of the planned trip and get advice about available vaccinations and further precautions.
      Click here to find your nearest travel health clinic and make an appointment: https://www.reisemedizincheck.at/en/find-a-travel-health-service
    • Don’t have unprotected sex (e.g. use condoms)1,3
    • Don’t share equipment to inject drugs1,3
    • Have tattoos and body piercing only where you can be sure equipment has been sterilised1,3
    • Don’t share personal items that could be contaminated with blood1,3
  1. World Health Organization. Factsheet. Hepatitis B. June 2022. Available online: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/ (Last accessed October 2022)
  2. World Health Organization. Hepatitis B, countries or areas at risk. 2012. Available online: http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/Files/Maps/Global_HepB_ITHRiskMap.png (Last accessed October 2022)
  3. Gesundheit.GV.AT. Hepatitis B. Available online: https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/krankheiten/leber/hepatitis-b (last accessed October 2022)
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow book 2020. Chapter 4 Travel-Related Infectious Diseases. July 2019. Hepatitis B. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/hepatitis-b (Last accessed October 2022)..

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