Hepatitis B Symptoms in Infants

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver often caused by the hepatitis B virus, as indicated by BabyCenter.com. Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with blood and other bodily fluids, which an infant will be exposed to during birth. An infant can become infected because the mother is infected. It is possible for an infected baby to show no signs of illness, but fever, fatigue, vomiting and jaundice are the most common infant symptoms of hepatitis B.

Fever

The Baby Center website suggests an infant will exhibit a fever with hepatitis B. A rectal temperature at this young age is the most reliable method of measurement. FamilyDoctor.org explains that a baby under 3 months of age running a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher should receive medical attention.

Fatigue

The World Health Organization describes the fatigue associated with hepatitis B to be severe. Infants who are suffering from fatigue may be hard to wake or appear uninterested in playing or engaging in eye contact. Infants with hepatitis B can be too tired to be upset over missing a meal.

Vomiting

Loss of appetite, abdominal pain and vomiting are common symptoms of hepatitis B, according to the World Health Organization. Abdominal pain can be recognized in an infant by his fussiness, back arching or withdrawing from touch. An infant may also pull his knees to his chest due to abdominal pain.

Jaundice

The World Health Organization indicates jaundice is a symptom of hepatitis B. Jaundice can be recognized on an infant as yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. When the skin is pressed with a finger and released, the yellow will be even more visible for a moment. This symptom occurs because the liver fails to filter bilirubin, the source of the yellow color in jaundice, explains the Mayo Clinic. Normally, the bilirubin is released into the intestinal tract to be removed from the body.

About this Author

Sarah Irene has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and has been a psychology instructor since 2006. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Yahoo! Shine and Atkins. She holds a Master of Science in clinical psychology from Capella University and is nearing completion of a Psy.D. in health psychology.