​Hepatitis B

  • Virus that affects liver    

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue, fever, malaise (general discomfort, weakness)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyeballs)
  • Dark urine, pale stools
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite


  • Sex with an infected person
  • Infection from mother through childbirth
  • Shared equipment for injecting or snorting drugs such as needles, straws, rolled up bills, crack pipes
  • Tattoos or body piercings with unsterilized equipment
  • Blood contact and/or needle stick injuries (E.g. healthcare workers)
  • Birth in regions where hepatitis B very common (Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, South America and northern Canada)


  • Antiviral treatments available (must be administered by medical professionals with specific training in hepatitis care and management)
    • Visit your doctor often and talk about the need to see a specialist


  • About 90% will recover from virus
    • Immune system develops antibodies to fight infection (though individual remains infectious)
  • Some people (9%) carry virus forever
    • May develop liver damage, cirrhosis, cancer
  • Very few people (1%) die soon after getting virus


  • Get hepatitis B vaccine
  • Check with doctor or health unit to see if you qualify for free hepatitis B vaccine
  • Practice safer sex; always use a condom during sexual intercourse.
  • Never share needles or other equipment for injecting drugs or steroids.
  • Never share tools for snorting drugs (E.g. straws, rolled up bills, crack pipes)
  • Do not touch blood or body fluids without wearing gloves.
  • Ensure tattoo and body piercing businesses sterilize equipment and do not re-use needles

Hepatitis B is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Local Medical Officer of Health under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. For diagnosis or treatment of any disease or infection listed, please contact your healthcare provider. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 451 or email@bchu.org.