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Communicable disease is defined as an infectious disease transmissible (as from person to person) by direct contact with an affected individual or the individual’s discharge or by indirect means (Merriam Webster, m-w.com). A communicable disease can be transmitted through fluid exchange or by a vector. Hepatitis B is a known communicable disease still affecting the United States and worldwide. Hepatitis B is a viral infection that caused liver damaged from the Hepatitis B virus HBV), inflammation of the liver. In the first stages of HBV usually within the first six months a person becomes infected calling it acute Hepatitis B infection.
HBV can feel like having the flu or no signs of symptoms in which it could go away on its own in a few months. If it doesn’t it is called chronic HBV, which then last a lifetime. Chronic HBV can lead to liver scarring, liver cancer and liver failure. Hepatitis B virus is found in the blood of people with HBV infection, it transmits through the body by blood-to-blood contact. This paper will describe Hepatitis B, the efforts being made to control it, provide data evidence, resource for treatment options, how it influence the lifestyles and socioeconomic status, and further prevention recommendations such as immunizations, Heath Care Act which provide everyone with insurance to be treated, and education.
Hepatitis B has similarities to the HIV virus as modes of transmission, although is 100 times more infectious. Both diseases are exposed through blood-to-blood contact from infected blood or products, and from mothers giving birth to infants. People can also get HBV by sharing needles for injection of drug use, accidental needle stick with a contaminated needle, tattooing equipment and sexual contact. HBV can spread through casual contact and become life threatening. HBV symptoms range from bare minimal in early stages, to jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, fever and malaise in the acute phase. Fatigue, appetite los, dark urine, itching and pale stools are other symptoms. HBV usually has a few symptoms after the initial infections. Worldwide Hepatitis B has infected two billion people stating to be one out of three people. Approximately 400 millions are chronically infected and an estimated amount of 1 million people die each year from Hepatitis B and its complications, that is about two people per minute that dies from Hepatitis B. In the United States 12 million Americans have been infected stating to be one out of 20 people, more than one million have it chronically and 100,00 will become infected each year. 5,000 people die from it each year and approximately one health care worker dies each day from Hepatitis B, (Hepatitis B Foundation).
In the city of Las Vegas the Southern Nevada Health District states that 19 cases per 100,000 have been reports up to the end of October 2012. There are approximately two million people in Las Vegas, indicating the 380 people have been infected in 2012 as of October 2012. There is a three shot series to help protect yourself and loved ones against hepatitis B. The first injection is given at any time the vaccine is preferred to start at infant ages. The second injection is one month following the first injection and the three injections is six month following the first injection. The first Hepatitis B was approved by Food and Drug Administration in 1981, then discontinued in 1990 and no longer used in the U.S. The ones currently use has been available since 1986. If infected by chronic HBV and immunization is not an option, treatment plans are available, first by taking antiviral medication to fight the virus and slow down the process of damaging the liver. If the liver is damaged beyond repair and transplant could be an option.
The United States offers several types of resources to help education and treat patient with Hepatitis B. Valuable information can be located at Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis B Foundation, and the state/city health district center. Organization support group can assist someone in understand option/treatments, education and or just listen through the internet and in person such as, Hepatitis B Foundation, Hepatitis Foundation International, HBV and Liver Disease Support Group, and National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, and many more throughout each community and state. People with Hepatitis B should always consult with their primary care doctor to help them incorporate a treatment plan, and possible places to go for support.
At any given time any one person can be exposed to Hepatitis B but as any disease there are way to help prevent exposure to it. It is important for people to have their vaccination especially out of country, where as HBV is most common in Asian and Pacific Island countries as well as Africa, the Middle East, Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and South and Central America. Environmental factors that contribute to possible exposure is by sharing needles while doing drugs, men who have sex with men, people receiving chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy, donors of blood, organs and semen, people who have sex with infected person and multiple partners. Even the ones who are there to help such as doctors and nurses can be exposed at work by the blood products and needles.
Crowded urban residence, lower social stratum and low educational attainment are major socioeconomic factors reported higher chronic Hepatitis B virus carriers. People with lower income are unable to afford possible treatment plans or medication, social stigma and fear of discrimination. HBV is something everyone should be educated on and the risk of exposure, as well as the education of sex and what possible disease can occurs when people have sex with multiple partners, putting themselves and other at risk. Controlling a disease is understanding it, getting the information out, to help educate people especially ones who can’t afford it.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s, HHS’ Healthy People 2010 program, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’ have helped spark vigorous efforts to close the gap in immunization, such as providing treatment to children who don’t have insurance and afford it, school making it a required to have the Hepatitis series prior to starting, and getting the education out there of why it is important. Immunizations, for both children and adults, have been identified as one of six key areas in which Americans experience serious disparities in health outcomes compared to their majority counterparts. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will bring health insurance coverage to more than 30 million people while promoting disease prevention. The Act will improve patient access to viral-hepatitis-related prevention, care, and treatment services.
Hepatitis B virus is 100 times more contagious then HIV/AIDS, it is passed by blood-to-blood contact, and spreads to a baby during delivery from the mother. HBV can be mild with no symptoms or can be severe causing cancer, liver damaged or needing a liver transplant. Immunizations play a key role in the prevention of infection with the HBV virus. The immunizations are available for infants to adulthood, and highly recommended to start the series at infancy. If infected there are possible alternatives such as antiviral that can help prevent damage to the liver while prolonging life.
A person can be infected with HBV in almost any setting no matter the ethnicity, or place, but HBV is higher among the poorer, overcrowded urban areas, other countries and is more common in the Asian and the Pacific Islander communities. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goals are to eliminate diseases, treat them and provide options for all people even with a preexisting condition. The Act is also aiming for a Healthy America in 2020, giving the nation with proper tools to be educated, treated and options to better their health. HBV is not only affecting the U.S but it’s a worldwide problem. HBV can be deadly and its doesn’t choose just one particular type of person, it infects anyone that crosses its path. Educating, take proper steps, having the immunization series completed and keep from having multiple sexual partners are great ways to protect yourself and the ones you loves from Hepatitis B.
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