Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is spread by exposure to HBV infected blood or body fluid. In the United States, the most common methods of transmission include: intravenous drug use and sexual intercourse. HBV can take 30 to 180 days to show symptoms in someone who is infected.
The hepatitis B virus can cause both acute and chronic infections. Many experience no signs or symptoms. Others may develop a rapid onset of sickness, including: nausea, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin and/or eyes), fatigue, dark urine, and abdominal pain. Often, the body can fight off the infection, and develop immunity to the hepatitis B virus. Although, those who do not recover from the infection develop what is known as chronic hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis B is a lifelong infection that can progress to conditions such as hardening of the liver, scarring, and even liver cancer.