Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It has a number of different causes, but the most common is damage by a virus. Hepatitis B is one of the viruses which can damage the liver. Others include the hepatitis A, C, D and E viruses, and sometimes the Epstein-Barr (glandular fever) virus and cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Adults have a good chance (between 90% and 95%) of being able to get rid of the virus, or “clear” the virus from the body. Individuals who have been infected and clear the virus are immune to the disease and do not develop long-term liver damage.

The Hepatitis B virus (or HBV) multiplies in the liver cells. The body then tries to get rid of the Hepatitis B by killing the infected cells. Ironically, it is the self-defence, or immune response which does the most damage to the liver.

Facts About Hepatitis B
Third Edition 2007


  • What is Hepatitis B?
  • How does Hepatitis B virus damage the liver?
  • How is Hepatitis B spread?
  • What damage can Hepatitis B do?
  • How can the doctor tell if you are infected with HBV and whether you have any liver damage?
  • Is there any treatment?
  • What else can be done to improve the liver?
  • Do people with Hepatitis B need to stay under medical supervision?
  • How can we stop the spread of Hepatitis B?
  • Tell me more about vaccination
  • Should everyone be vaccinated against Hepatitis B?
  • Further Questions?


Facts About Hepatitis B is now available as an A4 size pdf file.

Hepatitis B (Adobe Acrobat PDF 220K)