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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects the liver. HBV is spread through infected blood and body fluids. Risk factors include being born to an HBV-infected woman, having unprotected sex, sharing injection drug equipment, sharing personal hygiene items (e.g., razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes), and living in a household with infected persons.

Resources for the general public

Resources for health care professionals

Purpose of surveillance:

  • To identify infectious cases and outbreaks
  • To identify exposed persons eligible for post-exposure prophylaxis
  • To identify and eliminate sources of transmission
  • To identify pregnant women with hepatitis B and ensure prompt treatment to prevent infection of the newborn

Hepatitis B case data

Local epidemiology:

Nine cases of acute HBV infection were reported in 2015. Five (56%) of the cases were male, and median age was 42 years (range 29 – 63 years). Sexual activity was the suspected route of exposure for four (44%) cases. Six cases were hospitalized, none died.

In 2015, 738 chronic hepatitis B cases were reported.

Women of childbearing age receive additional follow up from Public Health, since hepatitis B infection can be passed perinatally from mother to infant, but is 85% - 95% preventable when post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is administered to the infant at birth. Women with hepatitis B who are reported to Public Health are evaluated for pregnancy status, and pregnant women are enrolled in the Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP). The PHBPP’s goal is to ensure these infants receive timely preventive treatment beginning at birth. In 2015, 164 infants in King County were born to women with hepatitis B infection. Of those, all infants received on-time post-exposure treatment, including hepatitis B immune globulin and the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine.

Since chronic HBV infection became reportable in Washington state in December 2000, the number of reports in King County has ranged from 400 to 878 annually. Reports of acute HBV cases in King County and nationally have been declining since the 1980s when hepatitis B vaccine became widely available.