Hepatitis B is a viral infection that has both acute and chronic forms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease is transferred through exposure to bodily fluids. Though hepatitis-B vaccines exist, there is no treatment for the acute form of the viral infection, as of 2015.
Hepatitis B starts as an acute viral infection and may develop into a chronic disease based on the age and health of the patient. Infected children under 6 have up to a 50 percent chance of developing the chronic form, while up to 90 percent of infected babies less than 1 year old develop the long-term infection. By comparison, less than 10 percent of healthy adults infected with the virus suffer from chronic hepatitis B, explains the World Health Organization.
Receiving the hepatitis B vaccination series is the best way to avoid contracting the infection, states the CDC. There is no cure for hepatitis B. Short-term treatment for the acute form involves making the patient comfortable and providing fluids, notes the World Health Organization. Lifelong treatment with anti-virals such as tenofovir or entecavir may slow or minimize effects from chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B is spread by contact with bodily fluids including blood, saliva and sexual fluids, according to the World Health Organization. Tattoo artists and medical professionals such as nurses, surgeons and dentists have a higher risk of contracting the disease. Intravenous drug users, sex industry workers and unvaccinated adults also have an increased risk.