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Date of preparation: March 2018

Is age a key factor in developing the disease?  

The risk of developing chronic hepatitis B infection is age-dependent; young children under the age of 6 who become infected with hepatitis B are most at risk of developing chronic infections.1The risk of developing acute hepatitis B is greatest in people who have multiple sex partners, men who have sex with men and sexual contact with a person known to have hepatitis B. It is not age-dependent. 2

Groups most at risk from hepatitis B include: 1

  • People who frequently require blood or blood products, dialysis patients, recipients of solid-organ transplantations
  • People interned in prisons
  • People who inject drugs
  • Household and sexual contacts of people with chronic HBV infection
  • People with multiple sexual partners
  • Healthcare workers and others who may be exposed to blood and blood products through their work
  • Travellers who have not completed their hepatitis B vaccination series, who should be offered the vaccine before leaving for endemic areas


  1.  WHO. Hepatitis B fact sheet. 2015. Available at: Last accessed June 2015.
  2. Finelli L, Bell B. Chapter 4: Hepatitis B, VPD Surveillance Manual, 5th Edition, 2011. Available at: Last accessed June 2015.

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