How is hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmitted?

Updated: Jun 12, 2017
  • Author: Naga Swetha Samji, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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HBV is transmitted both parenterally and sexually, most often by mucous membrane exposure or percutaneous exposure to infectious body fluids. Saliva, serum, and semen all have been determined to be infectious. [26, 30] Percutaneous exposures leading to the transmission of HBV include transfusion of blood or blood products, injection drug use with shared needles, hemodialysis, and needlesticks (or other wounds caused by sharp implements) in healthcare workers. [26, 30]

Globally and in the United States, perinatal transmission is one of the major modes of HBV transmission. The greatest risk of perinatal transmission occurs in infants of HBeAg-positive women. By age 6 months, these children have a 70-90% risk of infection, and of those who become infected, about 90% will go on to develop chronic infection with HBV. [9]

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