District 2 Public Health encourages all adults to get Hepatitis B vaccine

District 2 Public Health is recommending all adults receive the Universal Hepatitis B Vaccine.

According to District 2 Public Health Public Information Officer Natasha Young, there are almost two million people estimated to be living with hepatitis B in the U.S.; almost a quarter of those people will be at risk of premature death from liver disease or liver cancer due to long-term, chronic infection.

The Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that all adults 19- to 59-years-old become vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus regardless of risk factors.

Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus.

It is spread through bodily fluids from an infected person. Spread may occur through sexual contact, needle sharing, syringes, or mother to baby at birth.

Common symptoms include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice.

The best way to prevent long-term illness associated with hepatitis B is to get vaccinated.

In 2005, it was recommended that all newborns should receive their first Hepatitis B vaccine dose before hospital discharge, resulting in large decreases in new cases among children and adolescents.

In adults, rates of acute infections are now highest among 30- to 59-year-olds, and rates have increased among older and middle-aged adults.

Proving that the current risk-based screening process for adults is not working efficiently to reduce the number of new infections.

Young says it is important to get vaccinated to prevent infection and illness from hepatitis B. The hepatitis B vaccine can either be given as a 2-dose vaccine series administered over a 1-month period, or a 3-dose vaccine series administered over a 6-month period.

The vaccine is available at all District 2 Public Health Departments.

For additional information visit cdc.gov.