works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against Hepatitis
Hepatitis B is an infectious disease, which causes the liver to
become swollen (inflamed). It is caused by a virus (hepatitis B virus). The
virus is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or
saliva of infected people. You can catch the virus if it can enter your
bloodstream. Ways this can happen are through:
(e.g. needlestick injury, or sharing needles for IV
· sexual intercourse
cuts or tiny wounds coming into contact with infected fluids (e.g. from a human
bite, sharing razors or toothbrushes, or working with human blood or body
infected mother passing the virus onto her baby during or shortly after birth.
people infected with hepatitis B may not look or feel sick. But others will get
symptoms, which may not be seen for 6 weeks to 6 months after infection.
Sometimes people will only have mild flu-like symptoms, but other people can
become very ill. They may be extremely tired, and have dark urine, pale faeces,
yellowish skin and/or eyes (jaundice), and other symptoms possibly requiring
adults fully recover from the disease. But some people, particularly children,
who may not have had symptoms can remain infected. They are called hepatitis B
virus carriers. Hepatitis B carriers can infect others throughout their lives.
infected with hepatitis B at birth almost always become carriers. Often they do
not show symptoms, and seem healthy for many years. However, after 30, 40 or 50
years they can become sick and develop symptoms.
chronic hepatitis B carriers there is a risk of serious liver disease, such as
cirrhosis (liver scarring) and liver cancer.
is no specific treatment for hepatitis B. Therefore
vaccination is the best way to help protect against infection and possible
serious long-term disease.
will not protect against hepatitis caused by other agents or viruses (such as
hepatitis A, hepatitis C, hepatitis E). If a person is already infected with
the hepatitis B virus at the time of vaccination, ENGERIX-B may not prevent the
disease in these people.