Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV).  It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.  For example, HBV is spread through: having sex with an infected person, sharing needles, or accidental needle sticks and from an infected mother to her baby during birth.  If you are at risk for hepatitis B, ask your health care provider for a hepatitis B test (which is a simple blood test) to determine if you have been infected with HBV.  If you have not been infected, a vaccine can protect you from HBV.