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The Hepatitis B Virus

            Hepatitis B is a very serious liver infection that can lead to liver cancer and sometimes even death. In the following pages, a background of the virus, how it is contracted and controlled, and the complications it causes will be thoroughly discussed and reviewed.
             Hepatitis B is a big concern because it can cause liver damage. The liver is the largest intestinal organ in the body and it performs more functions than any other body part. The reddish-brown tissue is essential as a digestive gland, chemical factory, blood purifier, poison processor, and food storage and distribution center. It stores up to ten percent of your total blood supply, and you can't live without it. (How to Avoid Hepatitis B &C, 1).
             Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, a bacterial infection, or injury from overwhelming amounts of alcohol, drugs, or environmental poisons. It can also result from autoimmune diseases, genetic defects, or tumors, and can either be acute which is suddenly onset or chronic which is long term. It is usually chronic and involves progressive liver damage, and includes cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver, and liver cancer. (How to Avoid Hepatitis B & C, 1).
             The fact that many people infected with Hepatitis B have no symptoms makes it a serious threat to society. However, some may have flu-like symptoms, which could include fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, joint pain, dark urine, and light colored stools. Twenty-five to thirty-five percent have symptoms such as jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, which indicates liver damage. (The American Liver Foundation, 2).
             In the world this year alone, ten to thirty million people will become infected with the Hepatitis B virus. While three hundred million people are chronic carriers of the Hepatitis B virus. It leads to more than one million deaths every year. In the United States, one out of twenty people have been infected with the Hepatitis B virus.

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