What is hepatitis B?
2 billion600 million
The map shows the worldwide prevalence of chronic Hepatitis B.
Some history behind the vaccine that prevents Hep B
* A man by the name of Saul Krugman discovered that hepatitis B viruses could be isolated from the blood of an infected person.
* Krugman created a primitive vaccine using this knowledge: he heated the blood serum of Hep B patients, which killed most of the virus (enough to make it non-infectious but still provide immunity).
* Maurice Hilleman created an even better vaccine by isolating a specific part of the virus (the part that remained alive in Krugman's vaccine), called the "Australia Antigen," using pepsin, urea, and formaldehyde (these killed the rest of the virus).
* Around this time, HIV was discovered, and a vaccine made from human blood was just about the worst thing for marketing, so to convince the public of its safety and efficacy, Hilleman vaccinated managers at the big pharma company he worked for (Merck).
* Some people (specifically a man named Alan Cantwell) claimed that the Hep B vaccine would give you HIV, this claim was later debunked
* Years later, Merck created a new recombinant Hep B vaccine, made from yeast!
The full list of adverse reactions to the Hep B vaccine includes:
* Soreness at the site of injection
* Allergic reactions (to the yeast-derived vaccine, or the latex included in some pre-filled syringes, these reactions are more rare)
* Shoulder pain (this is also a more rare reaction)
While there are a few different possible side effects, these are more mild, and the Hep B vaccine is still considered one of the most safe and effective vaccines ever produced!
How do you know if you have hepatitis B?
The best way to know for sure is to get tested for it, since most people have an infection but don't display any symptoms. BUT if you do have some symptoms, these are the ones to look out for if you're worried about HepB:
How can people contract hepatitis B?
When should you get vaccinated?
According to the CDC, everyone should get three doses of a Hep B vaccine: the first dose at birth, the second dose at 1-2 months of age, and the third dose around 6-18 months. It is important that the doses are given in the specified interval, as these intervals provide the safest, and best immunity.
If an adult was not given the Hep B vaccine as a child, he or she should also get three doses. The first dose can be whenever, the second dose should be 1 month following the first dose, and the third dose should be 6 months following the second dose.
There are also "special adult populations" that should make sure they have active immunity against Hep B, those include:
* Sexual partners of Hep B surface antigen POSITIVE partners, regardless of gender
* Sexually active persons who are not in a mutually monogamous relationship
* Persons seeking treatment for a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
* Men who have sex with other men
If you are pregnant and at high risk of contracting Hep B, you should talk to your doctor to see if vaccination is the right step for you.
Let's see how much you remember from our article. Don't worry, this'll hurt less than a Hep B shot.
You may get a fever from being vaccinated against hepatitis B, or from listening to Kylie Minogue circa 2001.
Other possible side effects include: soreness at the injection site, headache (because you can't get us out of your head, la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la), dizziness, and fatigue. Rare side effects include shoulder pain and allergic reactions (to the yeast-derived vaccine, or the latex included in some pre-filled syringes)
Gay menPolice officersConstruction workersCowboys
Men who have sex with men are at high risk of developing hepatitis B.
You cannot get hepatitis B from being a police officer, cowboy, or construction worker.
Jaundice (pronounced JAWN-diss)Red rashMuscle painRunny nose
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) is a symptom of hepatitis B.
Red rashes, muscle pains, runny noses, and bloodshot eyes are symptoms of rubella, which you should totally learn about, too.
Edward JennerJonas SalkMaurice HillemanLouis Pasteur
Maurice Hilleman created the first commercially-available hepatitis B vaccine.
Hilleman used human blood to create the vaccine. Much like Lady Macbeth, he could not make people forget about that. Merck later created Hilleman's vaccine using yeast, instead.