Hepatitis B carriers are people who have hepatitis B but who show no symptoms of the infection. Carriers can take certain precautions to prevent transmission to other people.
Often, hepatitis B carriers have low viral loads, which means that they do not have much of the virus in their body. They may also have antibodies, which fight the infection.
Read on to learn more about what it means to be a hepatitis B carrier, how the infection affects people, and ways to prevent transmission.
In simple terms, a person with any amount of hepatitis B in their blood is a carrier. This has several implications,
- experience a resurgence of the virus
- pass the virus on to other people
- have an increased risk of liver disease and
People classified as hepatitis B carriers typically have ongoing hepatitis B infections but show no symptoms.
Who is likely to be a hepatitis B carrier?
People living with chronic hepatitis B can be carriers. Often, carriers do not have symptoms. This means that
However, within the U.S., there is a low rate of hepatitis B infections, which means that there is a small number of carriers. To prevent transmission, people can receive the hepatitis B vaccine.
A person living with chronic hepatitis B who is an asymptomatic carrier can still spread the virus to others.
- having genital contact with others
- sharing needles
- being born of a person with the infection
- coming into contact with infected bodily fluids
- sharing personal hygiene products, such as razors and toothbrushes
- sustaining accidental needle sticks
Hepatitis B carriers often do not have any symptoms. However, like with shingles, these people may develop a resurgence of the virus later in life. This can cause health complications.
Living with chronic hepatitis B
- liver damage (cirrhosis)
- liver cancer
- liver failure
People with chronic hepatitis B usually do not have symptoms from the virus itself. When they do have symptoms, they often result from a complication.
A person who may be a carrier, who has an acute hepatitis B infection, or who is living with a known chronic infection can take steps to help prevent transmitting the virus to others.
If someone is living with or is in a relationship with someone who has hepatitis B, they should consider getting vaccinated. A vaccine provides immunity and means that they
However, not all people can get the hepatitis B vaccine. Other steps a person
- avoiding sharing needles with others
- using only sterilized tattoo and piercing tools
- covering any open wounds
- wearing a barrier method of protection during sex
- not sharing personal items
If a person receives a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B, they can live a relatively normal and healthy life. Taking the right precautions can help them avoid transmitting the virus.
For example, they should monitor their viral load with regular blood tests. This will ensure that they can get prompt treatment if the virus starts to resurge.
Letting the virus go unchecked can be dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, about
People with chronic hepatitis B may develop serious complications if the virus reemerges. Getting regular checkups can help prevent this.
Not all cases of chronic hepatitis B require treatment. A doctor
The length of treatment varies. A person may take oral medications or receive antiviral injections.
If the hepatitis B infection has caused complications, such as liver damage, a doctor will recommend treatment.
In order to diagnose hepatitis B, a doctor
If a blood test confirms that a person has hepatitis B, a doctor may order additional tests to check for complications. These can include a liver ultrasound, which allows them to see any scarring on the liver, and a liver biopsy, in which a healthcare professional removes and tests a small portion of the liver.
A person should contact a doctor if they think that they may have had exposure to hepatitis B. The doctor can run a blood test to look for the presence of the infection and determine the next steps.
People who are concerned about contracting the virus may want to ask a doctor about getting the hepatitis B vaccine. This will protect them from future infections.
People who are living with a known case of chronic hepatitis B should visit a doctor regularly for screenings and blood tests to monitor the virus.
Hepatitis B carriers are people living with asymptomatic chronic hepatitis B. Although they do not experience any symptoms, they can still pass the infection to others. They are also at risk of developing complications, such as liver damage.
If a person is a hepatitis B carrier, they should visit a doctor for regular screenings.