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Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is transmitted through blood and other body fluids and can result in an acute or chronic infection of the liver which can cause serious illness and premature death.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through exposure to infected blood or body fluids. Transmission mostly occurs:

  • • through vaginal or anal intercourse
  • • as a result of blood-to-blood contact through percutaneous exposure (e.g. sharing of needles and other equipment by people who inject drugs (PWID), ‘needlestick’ injuries)
  • • through perinatal transmission from mother to child

Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable. There are different immunisation schedules depending on the vaccine product used and how quickly protection is needed for pre and post exposure. Information about the schedules can be found in The Green Book chapter 18.1

Hepatitis B vaccine is given:

  • • as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule
  • • to individuals who are at high risk of exposure, and,
  • • as post exposure prophylaxis to individuals who have been exposed to the virus including babies born to hepatitis B positive mothers

Please see the following data sheet for more information:

Patient information sheet

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