Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Hepatitis B: Everything you need to know


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Hepatitis B

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • A recent study by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, revealed alarming deficiencies in public knowledge (transmission, effects & vaccination) about Hepatitis B in India.
  • Despite the availability of a vaccine for over 30 years, HBV infection rates remain high in India, with prevalence estimates ranging from 2% to 8% and approximately 37 million carriers nationwide.

About Hepatitis

  • Hepatitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the liver.
  • It can be caused by various factors, including viral infections (hepatitis viruses), alcohol consumption, certain medications, toxins, autoimmune diseases, and metabolic disorders.
Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Hepatitis C
Causative Virus Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
Transmission Fecal-oral route (contaminated food/water) Blood and body fluids (unsafe sex, sharing needles) Blood-to-blood contact (sharing needles, transfusions)
Vaccine Available Yes Yes Yes
Chronic Infection No (usually acute) Yes (can become chronic) Yes (often becomes chronic)
Symptoms Mild flu-like symptoms, jaundice Variable, from none to severe symptoms Often asymptomatic, but can lead to liver damage
Chronic Complications None Cirrhosis, liver cancer Cirrhosis, liver cancer
Preventable by Vaccine Yes Yes No
Treatment Supportive care Antiviral medications Antiviral medications




Which one of the following statements is not correct? (2019)

(a) Hepatitis B virus is transmitted much like HIV.

(b) Hepatitis B, unlike Hepatitis C, does not have a vaccine.

(c) Globally, the number of people infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses are several times more than those infected with HIV.

(d) Some of those infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses do not show the symptoms for many years.


Which of the following diseases can be transmitted from one person to another through tattooing? (2013)

1.    Chikungunya

2.    Hepatitis B

3.    HIV-AIDS

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Practice MCQ:


Consider the following statements regarding Hepatitis C virus:

1.    It is spread mainly through contaminated water and food.

2.    It primarily affects the functioning of respiratory system.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) Only 1

(b) Only 2

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

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