How hepatitis B affects each person is varied and complex. Most of the time young children are much more likely to get chronic hepatitis B.

This table shows what is likely to happen. It depends on how old you are when you come into contact with hepatitis B.

Age exposed to hepatitis B

Acute hepatitis B

Chronic hepatitis B

Infants (under one year old)

Most will not get any acute hepatitis B signs


90% will get chronic (lifelong) hepatitis B

Young children (aged one to six years old)

Most will not get any acute hepatitis B signs

30% will get chronic (lifelong) hepatitis B

Adults or older children (over six years old)

Many will get acute hepatitis B signs

Less than 5% will get chronic (lifelong) hepatitis B

Find out more about hepatitis B vaccination


Hepatitis B. Retrieved from World Health Organization.

Updated 6 March 2023