THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 608.3

Guest: Dr. Susan Goldstein, Nat’l Immunization program, CDC

Topic: Hepatitis B

Host/Producer: Steve Girard

NEMA: The danger of hepatitis B...coming up...

SPOT: NEMA, the National Emergency Medicine Association, fights our worst health enemies - heart disease, stroke, trauma. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: About a million of us have hepatitis B...five thousand of us die each year...this is Dr. Susan Goldstein, from the Centers for Disease Control...

GOLDSTEIN: Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. And it can cause two things...it can cause acute infection, which is frequently referred to as yellow jaundice...and people have fever, and yellow looking skin, and yellow eyes, and they can have pain in their stomach...especially in the right upper quadrant, which is where the liver is. But hepatitis B can also cause chronic hepatitis B. That can be 10 or 20 or 30 years, after the initial infection....and it presents as chronic liver disease, which includes cirrhosis and something called a patacellular carcinoma, which is actually, really just liver cancer.

NEMA: The disease is tough to treat...and very tough to see in younger children. Many get infected in their teen years...and not only through sex and drug use, but from the sharing of everyday objects, like toothbrushes, fingernail clippers, or by body piercing. More on what we’re doing to protect our kids from hepatitis B...next. I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.