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The word hepatitis refers to an "inflammation of the liver." Chronic hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world and is caused by the hepatitis B virus, which attacks the liver. An acute (short-term) hepatitis B infection can progress to chronic hepatitis B — a lifetime condition that can lead to cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure.

Not everyone who is infected with hepatitis B will develop chronic hepatitis B. In fact, most healthy adults (90%) who are infected will recover and develop protective antibodies against future infections. If the virus remains in the blood for more than six months, then a person is diagnosed as having chronic hepatitis B and often requires treatment to prevent further damage to the liver

Many people with hepatitis B do not have noticeable symptoms. This makes it a truly invisible enemy because people who have the disease may not seek treatment and can unknowingly pass the virus on to others. Hepatitis B infection may cause flu-like symptoms, such as:

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