Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. Many people, especially children, will have no symptoms. However, even if they don't appear to be sick or have the symptoms, people can have active, chronic Hep B, and they can pass the disease to unimmunized people, generally through blood contact. When symptoms do present, they may include mild fever, fatigue, muscle aches, joint aches, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, dark urine, yellow eyes and skin. Some children who test Hep B+ may have cleared the disease when they had it and no longer can pass on this disease to others. Some patients go on to develop a chronic, long term, form of hepatitis B.
Treatment with medication is available for patients with chronic hepatitis B who meet specific medical criteria. Treatment should be determined and closely monitored by a doctor familiar with the treatment of Hepatitis B in children.
Children with the long term, chronic form of Hep B can usually live very productive, normal lives as adults.