Hepatitis B, or serum hepatitis, is spread mainly through contaminated blood, often from unsterilized needles shared by drug users or used for tattoos or ear or body piercing. The virus can also be transmitted sexually. Over 100,000 people are infected yearly in the United States, but this number is decreasing due to the recent introduction of a vaccine. In addition to the initial disease, which is more severe than hepatitis A (more liver damage and fatality rate of 10%), those infected are at higher risk of liver cancer.
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