Many people do not show any symptoms, and may not even know they have been infected. Even so, during their infection, they can pass the disease on to others.
Hepatitis B sometimes causes flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches and a high temperature. It can also lead to loss of appetite, sickness, diarrhoea, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), and pain in the upper right-hand side of the tummy (abdomen).
If they do appear, symptoms will normally begin two to three months after exposure to the virus, and last for several months. But the infection can persist for longer, and may never go away. These chronic infections can lead to serious liver problems such as liver cancer and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). Cirrhosis prevents the liver from working properly; the damage cannot be reversed and eventually the liver may stop working altogether.