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.

See NHS Choices for more information about hepatitis B.


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

  1. Hepatitis B: the green book, chapter 18

    • Guidance
  2. Immunoglobulin: when to use

    • 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

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

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

    • Guidance
  4. Hepatitis B: Pathway stages to protection

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

    • Detailed guide


Acute 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. Acute Hepatitis B (England): annual reports

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

    • Research and analysis