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The Hepatitis B Virus HBV HBV is a mostly double-stranded DNA virus in the Hepadnaviridae family HBV causes hepatitis in human and related virus in this family cause hepatitis in ducks ground squirrels and woodchucks The HBV genome has four genes pol env pre-core and X that respectively encode the viral DNA-polymerase envelope protein pre-core protein which is processed to viral capsid and protein X The function of protein X is not clear but it may be involved in the activation of host cell genes and the development of cancer Hepatitis B is a serious public health problem that affects people of all ages in the United States and around the world Each year more than 240000 people contract hepatitis B in the United States A highly infectious virus that attacks the liver causes the disease Hepatitis B virus HBV infection can lead to severe illness liver damage and in some cases death It can take on average 60-120 days from the time of exposure for symptoms of hepatitis B infection to develop However only 50 of adults infected with hepatitis B ever show any symptoms with symptoms occurring even less often in infants and children Some people do become very sick after they have been infected with HBV Symptoms may include Jaundice yellowing of the skin and eyes Dark-colored urine Light-colored bowel movements Flu-like feelings - poor appetite fatigue weakness nausea or vomiting Fever headache or aching joints Skin rash or itchiness Pain in the upper right abdomen Intolerance to fatty foods and cigarettes Odd tastes and smells
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