Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Infectious Diseases

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. About half of infected people do not have any symptoms. Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, dark urine, pale stools, joint pain and pain in the stomach area.

It is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids (semen, vaginal fluid and saliva) of an infected person, such as sexual contact, sharing needles and other drug equipment, sharing razors or toothbrushes. It can also be passed on from an infected mother to a newborn infant at the time of birth. Hepatitis B can be prevented by a vaccine. For more information on the vaccine, see the health unit’s fact sheet on hepatitis B vaccine. For more detailed information about the disease, see the health unit’s fact sheet on hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccine is provided to Grade 7 students as part of the health unit’s school vaccine program.

Ninety percent of infected adults will clear the virus on their own (acute infection) and develop lifelong protection against it. The remaining 10% of infected adults are unable to clear the virus and become chronic carriers, who are chronically infected and infectious. Chronic hepatitis B infection is treatable.

Simcoe Muskoka
Technical Notes

Simcoe Muskoka

The following graph shows the number of acute hepatitis B cases in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000 and 2021. There have been between zero and eight cases of acute hepatitis B in Simcoe Muskoka every year since 2000. In 2018, eight cases of acute hepatitis B were reported in Simcoe Muskoka, the most cases reported in a single year since 2000. However, over 85% of cases reported in 2018 were born, lived or traveled in a country where hepatitis B is endemic. In 2021, there was one case of acute hepatitis B reported in Simcoe Muskoka.



The following graph shows the incidence rate of acute hepatitis B cases in Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario between 2000 and 2021. Both rates have remained low and relatively stable during this time period. In 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka incidence rate was 0.16 cases per 100,000 population and the Ontario incidence rate was 0.54 cases per 100,000 population.


More detailed data for Ontario and each health unit can be found on Public Health Ontario’s interactive Reportable Disease Trends in Ontario tool.

Technical Notes

There are many factors that influence how many cases are reported to the health unit, as explained on the Infectious Diseases page. It is unclear to what extent the global COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the reporting and spread of other infectious diseases – counts and rates of disease since 2020 should be interpreted with caution.

Similar to other chronic infectious diseases, the number of people who can spread hepatitis B is not just the number of new cases (incidence) every year; it is also the number of existing chronic carriers (prevalence) from previous years. The provincial reportable disease database (iPHIS) counts incidence and not prevalence so the data displayed on this page only show the number of new cases every year and not existing cases. Therefore, the number of people infected with hepatitis B in Simcoe Muskoka (who can spread the disease) is higher than the numbers shown here.

Page last updated December 5, 2022