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Hepatitis B and C viruses  Biohazard
Level 2

Hepatitis B and C: Understanding Biohazard Level 2 Viruses

Brief Overview of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C as a Virus

Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are viral infections that primarily affect the liver, leading to serious health issues such as liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

Hepatitis B is caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), while Hepatitis C results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Both viruses can cause both acute and chronic infections, with varying degrees of severity.

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Transmission of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions, often occurring through:

  • Unprotected sexual contact with an infected person.

  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment.

  • From mother to baby at birth.

  • Sharing personal items like razors or toothbrushes with someone infected.

Transmission of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is primarily spread through direct contact with infected blood. Common modes of transmission include:

  • Sharing needles or equipment to inject drugs.

  • Needlestick injuries in healthcare settings.

  • Less commonly, HCV can be spread through sexual contact, and from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth.

Biohazard Level 2

Hepatitis B and C viruses are classified as Biohazard Level 2 due to their mode of transmission and potential to cause serious disease. Biohazard Level 2 includes agents that pose moderate risks to both individuals and the community.

These viruses require specific precautions, such as the use of personal protective equipment and the implementation of strict hygiene practices to prevent transmission.

This level of biosecurity is essential to control the spread of infections and protect public health.

How do you prevent and control Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

Vaccination is available for Hepatitis B and is recommended for all infants, healthcare workers, and others at risk of infection. There is currently no vaccine for Hepatitis C, but antiviral medicines can cure most cases of hepatitis C infection. Preventive measures include avoiding sharing needles, practicing safer sex, and adhering to safety protocols in healthcare settings.

What are the main differences between Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis B and C are both liver infections caused by different viruses. Hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine, which is not available for Hepatitis C. While both can develop into chronic diseases, Hepatitis C is more likely to become chronic and does not have an effective immunization.

What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B and C?

Both infections might start with no symptoms at all, but common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, mild fever, muscle or joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Chronic stages might not present symptoms until serious liver damage occurs.

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