Health protection – collection

Hepatitis B: guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis, management and epidemiology of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a viral infection carried in the blood causing inflammation of the liver and potentially long term damage. The virus is transmitted by contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids. Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable.

The average incubation period for hepatitis B is 40 to 160 days. Some people experience flu-like symptoms including sore throat, tiredness, joint pains and nausea. Acute infection can be severe and cause abdominal discomfort and jaundice. There is also a liver-damaging chronic state of hepatitis B that is infectious and may be asymptomatic (without symptoms). Some people with hepatitis B go on to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Acute infectious hepatitis is a notifiable disease in England and Wales.


The UK currently has a selective immunisation policy for hepatitis B.

  1. Hepatitis B: the green book, chapter 18

    • 4 December 2013
    • Guidance
  2. Immunoglobulin: when to use

    • 1 October 2008
    • Guidance

Infants born to hepatitis B infected mothers

Infants born to hepatitis B infected mothers are at risk of perinatal transmission. National policy recommends immunisation of infants (with vaccine +/- hepatitis B immunoglobulin) from birth and at 1, 2 and 12 months of age with testing for evidence infection at 12 months.

  1. Infants born to hepatitis B-infected mothers: immunisation policy

    • 12 August 2008
    • Guidance
  2. Hepatitis B dried blood spot (DBS) testing for infants

    • 30 September 2013
    • Detailed guide
  3. Hepatitis B antenatal screening and newborn immunisation programme: Best practice guidance

    • 18 April 2011
    • Guidance
  4. Hepatitis B: Pathway stages to protection

    • 18 April 2011
    • Guidance
  5. Infectious diseases during pregnancy: screening, vaccination and treatment

    • 12 May 2012
    • Detailed guide


Hepatitis B annual report 2012

Data from the sentinel surveillance of blood-borne virus testing (including hepatitis B) are available.

Historic data on acute hepatitis B and sentinel surveillance of hepatitis (and other blood-borne virus testing) are available.

  1. Hepatitis B annual report for 2013

    • 22 August 2014
    • Research and analysis
  2. Hepatitis B: epidemiology in London 2012

    • 17 April 2014
    • Research and analysis