Who is affected by hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is one of the most easily spread (contagious) forms of viral hepatitis, which include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.

  • About 46,000 new hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections occurred in the United States in 2006.1
  • About 1.2 million Americans have long-term (chronic) hepatitis B, and many acquired their infection in childhood.1
  • In the U.S., hepatitis B is most common in people ages 25 to 44.1 People at greatest risk for HBV infection are those who use illegal drugs, those who have more than one sex partner, and men who have sex with men.2
  • Each year, about 3,000 people die in the U.S. from illnesses related to HBV infection.1
  • Black teenagers and young adults become infected with HBV 3 to 4 times more often than those who are white.2
  • Worldwide, chronic HBV infection is a major cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.

Citations

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Hepatitis B: Frequently asked questions for health professionals. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HBV/HBVfaq.htm.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2006). Hepatitis B. In LK Pickering, ed., Red Book: 2006 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 27th ed., pp. 335–355. Elk Grove, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Last Updated: August 6, 2009

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