Hepatitis B (hep B), according to the CDC, is "a contagious virus that is transmitted through blood, blood products, and other body fluids (such as semen)... Symptoms include a sudden fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dark urine, joint pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)."
Hepatitis B History
In 1965, Baruch Blumberg, MD, PhD, an American doctor who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1976) for his work on hepatitis B, matched a protein found in an Australian aborigine's blood with an antibody found in an American hemophiliac. First called the "Australian antigen," it was discovered to be the hepatitis B virus and provided a source for the vaccine created in 1969. Because the virus could not be recreated in a lab, the first vaccine was a heat-treated form of the virus. In 1981, the FDA approved Heptavax-B, a vaccine created by Maurice Hilleman, PhD. Because Heptavax-B used human serum and the fear of HIV infection was high, a new recombinant DNA vaccine, Recombivax HB, was licensed on June 23, 1986 that did not use human serum. As of July 2014, two hepatitis B vaccines are used, Engerix-B and Recombivax, as well as Twinrix (a hepatitis A and hepatitis B combination vaccine).