The duration of chronic hepatitis B is 6 months. One of the five types of viral hepatitis are hep B.

Children and people with suppressed immune systems are more likely to have chronic hep B.

You can learn more about chronic hep B by reading this.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. If the inflammation is caused by the hepatitis b virus (HBV), a person is said to have hep B.

In the United States, it’s estimated that about 862,000 people have hep B, and nearly 22,600 people acquire hep B each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 296 million people have chronic hep B worldwide.

Hep B can be transmitted through bodily fluids. It can be transmitted from mother to child.

Read more about other types of hepatitis.

HBV can cause acute or chronic infection. An acute infection lasts for up to 6 months before your body fights off the virus and may or may not cause symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they tend to last for several weeks.

The infection is known as chronic hepatitis when your body cannot fight off the virus and it lasts longer than 6 months. The chances of developing chronic hepatitis are highest in children under 5.

The chronic infection develops.

  • in more than 90 percent of infected infants
  • In between a quarter to half of the children.
  • In about 5 percent of adults.

Chronic hep B

Chronic hep B develops when your body cannot fight off HBV and the infection lasts longer than 6 months. Once the infection reaches chronic status, it often stays in your body for your entire life. Even if you do not have symptoms, it’s still possible to pass the virus to others.

Many people with hep B do not experience symptoms but can still transmit the virus to others. When symptoms occur, they onset an average of 3 months after exposure. But they can start anywhere between 8 weeks to 5 months after.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 to 50 percent of people over 5 have symptoms. Symptoms can include:

Most people with chronic hep B do not show any signs of disease. Some people grow.

Hep B is passed through bodily fluids. It can be passed from a mother to a child. Some of the most common methods of transmission.

  • sex without a condom or other barrier method
  • sharing needles, including those used for tattoos or piercings
  • “During a child’s birth, there is a transmission.”
  • Accidental contact with needles that contain a virus is common in healthcare settings.
  • Contact with menstrual, vaginal, or seminal fluid.

Saliva can also contain HBV but in smaller amounts. The virus is not passed through coughing, sneezing, or sharing utensils, but it can be passed through a bite wound, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety.

Chronic means that you have had the disease for at least 6 months.

Blood tests are needed to confirm a hep B infection. The WHO estimates that only about 10 percent of people living with hep B worldwide are aware of their infection.

A panel of blood tests.

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen test. This test can detect the presence of the virus that causes hep B by identifying proteins on its surface. Further tests are needed to see if you have an acute or chronic infection.
  • Hepatitis surface antibody test. A positive test means that you’re immune to HBV either from a previous infection or from vaccination. It also means that you currently do not have the virus and cannot transmit it to others.
  • Hepatitis B core antibody test. A positive test means you currently have hep B or had a past infection. The results can only be interpreted by knowing the results of the first two tests.

Along with blood tests, a doctor may order an ultrasound or liver biopsy to look for signs of liver damage.

Questions for a doctor or healthcare professional

You can get guidelines from a doctor or healthcare professional for managing chronic hep B.

Some questions you may want to ask a doctor.

  • Do I have chronic or acute hep B?
  • What do the results of my test say?
  • Should I be taking medication?
  • What should I do to monitor my disease?
  • Is there any clinical trials that I can participate in?

Doctors recommend rest, a healthy diet, and fluids for people with hep B infections that are mild. If you have a severe symptom, you may need to be admitted to a hospital.

According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, there are currently seven drugs approved by the FDA to treat chronic hep B in the United States. Not everybody needs to take medication, but some people will need to take medication for the rest of their lives.

These drugs are classified into two categories.

  • Antiviral drugs. These drugs help reduce inflammation and liver damage. They’re usually taken daily in pill form for at least a year.
  • Immune modulator drugs. These drugs boost your immune system to help your body fight off the virus. They’re administered as an injection over 6 to 12 months.

There’s no cure for hep B, acute or chronic, at the moment. However, clinical trials continue to investigate new treatment options.

Receiving the hepatitis B vaccine can prevent a hep B infection. The vaccine requires 2 to 4 doses, depending on the type you receive.

Some people are at an increased risk of developing hep B.

  • People with hep B have sexual partners.
  • People living in the same house.
  • People change sexual partners frequently.
  • People who have been sexually abused or victims of sexual assault.
  • people seeking testing or treatment for a sexually transmitted infection
  • people with chronic liver disease, kidney disease, hepatitis C, diabetes, or HIV
  • People who have recently traveled to a place with high rates of hep B.
  • People are in jails.
  • Staff and residents of facilities for people with disabilities.
  • healthcare workers
  • People who share equipment.
  • Men who have sex with other men.

The younger a person is when they first get hep B, the higher their chance of developing a chronic infection. Roughly 1 in 3 children who get hepatitis before age 6 develop a chronic infection.

The majority of people who have hep B as adults fully recover within 1 to 3 months. Children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk of developing chronic hep B infection.

Medications can help manage chronic hep B, but about 15 to 25 percent of people die prematurely from liver cancer, It is called cirrhosis., or liver failure.

“Chronic hep B infections are the cause of more than half of the cancers in the body. Taking your medication as prescribed and following your healthcare professional’s recommendations can help you minimize your chances of problems.”

Hep B can affect your body. A full recovery takes 3 months.

Children and people with suppressed immune systems are more likely to develop chronic hep B infections.

The best way to prevent hep B is by getting vaccinated. Vaccines are administered in 2 to 4 doses and are 98 to 100 percent effective.