What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable viral liver infection that occurs upon contact with the Hepatitis virus.
A leading killer disease, it causes the inflammation (swelling and reddening) of the liver, and other chronic liver conditions like cirrhosis (hardening or scarring), liver cancer, and even death.
Sadly, despite affecting millions globally, the disease remains a silent killer due to its asymptomatic character and many infected persons not showing any symptoms.
Hence, without checkups or tests like an HBV-DNA test, it might take years, or a liver failure, before patients discover that their liver is suffering an attack.
Signs of a hepatitis B infection can range from mild to severe, depending on the individual. However, in most cases, symptoms never appear or only appear upon a patient’s condition worsening and becoming chronic.
To avoid this and prevent late treatments, common hepatitis symptoms to note are:
• Abdominal pain
• Dark or brown urine
• Joint pain
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea and vomiting
• General weakness and fatigue
• Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
Hepatitis B transmits through direct contact with the hepatitis b virus via contact with infected blood, semen, or contaminated bodily fluids.
This may occur during birth, unprotected sex, or while using unsterilised medical equipment, unsterilised needles, and sharing personal items such as razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, and body jewelry.
Which persons are at risk?
Given that the Hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for at least seven days, an unvaccinated person’s contact with the virus (via the transmittable routes discussed above) may lead to an infection.
Also, you might be at risk if you have a job that exposes you to human blood or if you frequently travel to regions with high infection rates.
Regardless, because the liver can regenerate by itself after damage, if an adult is infected, their body might fight it off, leaving them immune for the rest of their life. However, this is not always the case. Besides, if the infection occurs at birth, it results in chronic hepatitis.
Diagnosing hepatitis with an HBV-DNA test.
Although various tests (ultrasound, liver biopsy, e.t.c.) are carried out for an accurate hepatitis B diagnosis, doctors often request the HBV-DNA test.
This is because the test uses a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique that is highly sophisticated and accurate in measuring the hepatitis B viral load in the blood of chronically infected patients.
Thus, it aids:
- Early detection and quantification in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection.
- Distinguishing of active from inactive hepatitis B Infection.
- Monitoring of disease progression in chronic Hepatitis B infection.
- Monitoring of response to anti-hepatitis B therapy.
When/where to carry out the test
You may need to carry out an HBV-DNA test at any Afriglobal Medicare near you if:
- A doctor requests it.
- You are experiencing multiple of the symptoms listed above.
- You are carrying out a wellness check.
For bookings, and speedy delivery of your HBV-DNA test results in five working days, do make your booking here.
You may also call us on 016291000 or 016290998 or walk into any Afriglobal Medicare test centre near you.