Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is a major global health problem. It can cause chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer.Most people do not experience any symptoms during the acute infection phase. However, some people have acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
The virus also can pass from a mother to her newborn child at birth or soon afterward. Most adults with hepatitis B get better, but a small percentage can't shake the disease and become carriers, which means they can spread it to others even when their own symptoms disappear.Laboratory diagnosis of hepatitis B infection focuses on the detection of the hepatitis B surface antigen HBsAg. Acute HBV infection is characterized by the presence of HBsAg and immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody to the core antigen, HBcAg. The presence of HBeAg indicates that the blood and body fluids of the infected individual are highly contagious.
There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B. Therefore, care is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea. Chronic hepatitis B infection can be treated with drugs, including oral antiviral agents.
In Poland, in 2012 a total of 1 583 cases of hepatitis B were reported, including 33 cases of dualinfection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). The incidence was 4.11 per 100 000 inhabitants and compared to the preceding year its value did not change. The acute cases accounted for 4.9% of all hepatitis B cases, the incidence - 0.20 per 100 000 population. Compared to 2011, there was a further decline in both incidence and share of acute stage of infection in the total number of cases. The highest incidence of acute and chronic form of hepatitis B was reported in Opolskie (0.49 per 100 000) and ?ódzkie provinces (8.62 per 100 thousand.), respectively.