Can Hepatitis B be transmitted in urine?

06 December 2009


Can Hepatitis B be transferred in urine?


We put this to consultant hepatologist Graeme Alexander, from Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge...

Graeme - When I meet patients in the clinic, I get two types of question. One, from a patient who's scared that they'll transmit hepatitis B to someone they love, and then the other, from the person that they love, wondering if they'll catch it from their partner.

And the answer is, that you can't catch hepatitis B from urine. These viruses are actually quite difficult to catch, both hepatitis B (and another blood-borne virus called hepatitis C).

Hepatitis B is acquired largely by contact with blood or through sex, and hepatitis C pretty well only by contact through blood.

So, you can live with someone for many, many years and not catch hepatitis B or C from them because close contact in the family situation is entirely safe.

Chris - And I think the other mitigation is that there is a good vaccine for hep-B, isn't there? So if we identify people in a family situation who have one carrier and one person who isn't infected, we can vaccinate the uninfected person to protect them.

Graeme - It's probably the most effective vaccine that we've ever come across, very effective. And very safe once you've been vaccinated.

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