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Skip to content. The hepatitis B vaccine is given to prevent the severe liver disease that can develop when children or adults are infected with hepatitis B virus. The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of three shots.

Hepatitis B Research Network

The first dose is given within 24 hours of birth. The second dose is given one to two months after the first dose, and the third dose is given between 6 months and 18 months of age. Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver. Hepatitis B virus infections are known as the "silent epidemic" because many infected people don't experience symptoms until decades later when they develop hepatitis inflammation of the liver , cirrhosis severe liver disease , or cancer of the liver hepatocellular carcinoma. Every year in the United States about 2, people die from hepatitis soon after they are infected, and another 12, go on to develop long-term hepatitis, putting them at high-risk for cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Blood from a person infected with hepatitis B virus is heavily contaminated with the virus.

The disease

As a result, contact with blood is the most likely way to catch hepatitis B. Even casual contact with the blood of someone who is infected sharing of washcloths, toothbrushes, or razors can cause infection. Healthcare workers are at high risk of catching the disease, as are intravenous drug users and newborns of mothers infected with the virus. Sexual contact can also expose people to infection. The virus is also present in low levels in saliva. Because the disease can be transmitted by casual contact, and because about 1 million people are infected with hepatitis B virus many of whom don't know that they have it , it has been hard to control hepatitis B virus infections in the United States.

A Look at Each Vaccine: Hepatitis B Vaccine

The original strategy started in the early s was to vaccinate only those at highest risk for example, healthcare workers, patients on dialysis, and intravenous drug users. But because the disease can be transmitted to those who are not in high-risk groups, this vaccine strategy didn't work. The incidence of hepatitis B virus disease in the United States was unchanged 10 years after the vaccine was first used! For this reason, the vaccine strategy changed. Now all infants and young children are recommended to receive the hepatitis B vaccine and the incidence of hepatitis B virus infections in the United States is starting to decline.

Indeed, the new vaccine strategy has virtually eliminated the disease in children less than 19 years of age. If we stick with this strategy, we have a chance to finally eliminate this devastating disease within one or two generations. Large quantities of hepatitis B virus are present in the blood of people with hepatitis B; in fact, as many as one billion infectious viruses can be found in a milliliter one-fifth of a teaspoon of blood from an infected individual.

Therefore, hepatitis B virus is transmitted in the blood of infected individuals during activities that could result in exposure to blood, such as intravenous drug use, tattooing, or sex with people who are infected. However, it is also possible to catch hepatitis B virus through more casual contact, such as sharing washcloths, toothbrushes or razors. In each of these cases, unseen amounts of blood can contain enough viral particles to cause infection.

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In addition, because many people who are infected don't know that they are infected, it is very hard to avoid the chance of getting infected with hepatitis B virus. People are protected against hepatitis B virus infection by making an immune response to a protein that sits on the surface of the virus. When hepatitis B virus grows in the liver, an excess amount of this surface protein is made. The hepatitis B vaccine is made by taking the part of the virus that makes surface protein "surface protein gene" and putting it into yeast cells.

The yeast cells then produce many copies of the protein that are subsequently used to make the vaccine.

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When the surface protein is given to children in the vaccine, their immune systems make an immune response that provides protection against infection with the hepatitis B virus. The first hepatitis B vaccine was made in the s by taking blood from people infected with hepatitis B virus and separating or purifying the surface protein from the infectious virus. Because blood was used, there was a risk of contaminating the vaccine with other viruses that might be found in blood, such as HIV.

Although contamination with HIV was a theoretical risk of the early, blood-derived, hepatitis B vaccine, no one ever got HIV from the hepatitis B vaccine. HBIG contains antibodies to the virus. It can give additional protection against infection in certain situations. The hepatitis C virus is spread by direct contact with infected blood. This can happen while sharing needles or sharing household items that come into contact with blood.


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A baby can be infected during birth if the mother has the hepatitis C virus. It also can be spread during unprotected sex, but it is harder to spread the virus this way. It is not spread by casual contact. There are several tests for the hepatitis C virus. One test shows whether you are infected with the hepatitis C virus. If the test result is positive, another kind of test can tell whether you still have the virus in your blood and if so, how much virus is present. Those at high risk of infection should be tested for the hepatitis C virus.

People at high risk of hepatitis C virus infection include the following:. A combination of antiviral drugs is used to treat hepatitis C virus infection. With recent advances in treatment approaches, most people with chronic hepatitis C infection can be cured. Treatment also decreases the long-term complications of the disease.

There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C virus infection. You can help prevent infection with the hepatitis C virus by avoiding risky behavior that can pass on the virus:. Antibodies: Proteins in the blood produced in reaction to foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses that cause infection.

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Carrier: A person who is infected with the organism of a disease without showing symptoms and who can transmit the disease to another person. Cells: The smallest units of a structure in the body; the building blocks for all parts of the body. Or in the business world, the authors of well-known books or those who went out on the speaking trail.

You might be familiar with the concept of the Dunbar Number. Extrapolating from his work with primates, Dunbar suggested that for humans this number was around In other words, we can have stable relationships with about people. But after that, we start forgetting or confusing them. Gore-Tex, for example, famously discovered that if more than people were working together in one building, various social problems would occur.

They started making buildings with a limit of people and only parking spaces.

Instead of a single Dunbar Number, he now talks about a series of numbers and corresponding social groups. Whether it comes to group sizes in primitive hunter-gatherer societies, battalion, company and unit sizes in armies across the world, or in the number of people on Christmas card lists in British households.

They've told you that they just want to keep things casual.

For a consultant that might be half a dozen clients they worked with really closely over the years, plus another half dozen colleagues they worked alongside. Or it might be members of a mastermind group who regularly refer clients to them. These are the people we really know like and trust. But know like and trust based on working closely with someone over an extended period of time.

Seeing and supporting them through their highs and lows. And having them do the same for you. They already know what you can do and they already trust you to deliver on big, important pieces of work. Your Casual Contact list probably contains a couple of dozen or more business contacts in there too. People you regularly interact with on social media or in real life. They could be potential clients who are interested in your work and ask questions.