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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B

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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a viral infection which attacks the Liver cells.

 

Causations

The hepatitis B virus primarily interferes with the functions of the liver by replicating in liver cells, known as hepatocytes.

Transmission

Transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood.


Possible forms of transmission include (but are not limited to) unprotected sexual contact, blood transfusions, re-use of contaminated needles & syringes, and vertical transmission from mother to child during childbirth.

 

Signs & symptoms acute viral hepatitis

  • General ill-health
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Mild fever
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice


Diagnosis

  • Serum or blood tests that detect either viral antigens (proteins produced by the virus) or antibodies produced by the host
  • Detection of HBS- AG antigen, Anti-HBS antibodies, Anti HBC antibodies in the blood or serum sample
  • More recently, PCR tests have been developed to detect and measure the amount of viral load in blood sample, used to assess a person's infection status and to monitor treatment

 

Treatment

  • Acute hepatitis B infection does not usually require treatment because most adults clear the infection spontaneously
  • Early antiviral like Lamivudine, Adefovir, may only be required in less than 1% of patients, whose infection takes a very aggressive course like cirrhosis, chronic symptomatic carrier, liver cancer, etc
  • The role Interferon’s is emerging as first choice along with the antiviral for the aggressive course.


Future of the Disease

Hepatitis B virus infection may either be acute (self-limiting) or chronic (long-standing). Persons with self-limiting infection clear the infection spontaneously within weeks to months.


Children are less likely than adults to clear the infection.


More than 95% of people who become infected as adults or older children will stage a full recovery and develop protective immunity to the virus.


However, only 5% of newborns that acquire the infection from their mother at birth will clear the infection. This population has a 40% lifetime risk of death from cirrhosis or carcinoma.

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