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Hepatitis B

What is Hepatitis B disease?

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. 1It can put people at high risk of death if chronic infection persists from cirrhosis (a scarring of the liver) and liver cancer 1


How is it spread?

Hepatitis B usually spreads to babies or children from infected mothers at birth, or through exposure to infected blood and bodily fluids (e.g. sharing needles with someone infected with hepatitis B in health-care settings or through infected mothers at birth).1

The virus is not spread through breastfeeding, sharing eating utensils, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. 2 Hepatitis B is also not spread by contaminated food or water 2


Who is at risk?

Children who become infected with the hepatitis B virus are at the most at risk of developing chronic hepatitis B infections; up to 90% of infants infected during the first year of life develop life-long infection. 13 

The vast majority of people infected with hepatitis B in adulthood are able to fight off the virus and fully recover within 1 to 3 months. 3 


What are the symptoms?

Many of the symptoms of hepatitis B can be confused with those of common illnesses, such as flu. 4 Many people infected with hepatitis B do not experience any symptoms and may spread the infection without realizing it. 4 When symptoms are present, however, they can include 14:

  • general aches and pains
  • fever
  • general sense of feeling unwell
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • dark urine
  • extreme tiredness
  • feeling and being sick and stomach pain

In some people, the hepatitis B virus can also cause a chronic liver infection that can later develop into cirrhosis (a scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. 1


How can you help protect your child and yourself?

Hepatitis B vaccination can help protect against infection. The hepatitis B vaccine can be provided alone or in combination vaccines that also help protect against other diseases, as part of the national immunization program. Consult with your healthcare professional for further information. 1


When should you receive Vaccination for Hepatitis B disease?

  • For infants 3 doses at 2, 4, 6 months with a booster dose at 18 months
  • For children and adults 3 doses can be given at any age – 2nd dose after 1 month and 3rd dose after 6 months
  • For travelers and high-risk group 3 doses – 2nd dose in 7 days and 3rd dose in 21 days and booster at 12 months.


Talk to your Doctor for more details 



  1. World Health Organization (WHO), 2017. Hepatitis B Factsheet. [last accessed April 2019].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016. Hepatitis B FAQs for the Public. [last accessed April 2019].
  3. National Health Service (NHS) Choices, 2019. Hepatitis B. Overview. [last accessed April 2019].
  4. National Health Service (NHS) Choices, 2016. Hepatitis B. Symptoms. [last accessed April 2019].


HCP with a Baby

Vaccination Schedule


Learn more about the approved Vaccination schedule in Sri Lanka

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Vaccine Guideline by Sri Lanka Medical Association 

Learn more information about vaccine guideline published by the Sri Lanka Medical association

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