Causes of Hepatitis B

The main causes of Hepatitis B infection or the main modes of transmission of the virus are infected blood or bodily fluids. The hepatitis B virus is a water-borne virus since it spreads from one individual to another through infected blood or bodily fluids. The virus can also be transmitted from a mother to a newborn baby soon after birth.

The hepatitis B virus can also spread through the use of needles that are contaminated. Saliva and semen that have small amounts of blood in it can also cause a spread of the virus. When the virus present in these fluids is exposed to bruised or ruptured skin, it enters the body and triggers an infection. The infection can occur even when the virus comes in contact with broken mucus membranes in the mouth, genitals or rectum.

The risk of Hepatitis B is higher in the following groups of people:

  • Individuals with multiple sexual partners, especially if they do not use protection
  • Men who have sexual relations with other men
  • Individuals who have sexual relations with someone infected with the virus
  • Individuals with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Drug users who share needles
  • Individuals who undergo blood transfusions
  • Individuals who undergo dialysis for renal disease
  • Babies born to infected mothers
  • Health care workers who handle needles and other sharp instruments that may have traces of infected blood
It is not possible to contract hepatitis B infection in the following ways:

  • Hugging
  • Shaking hands
  • Breastfeeding
  • Consuming food or water
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Casual contact

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