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How common is it for Hep B test to show false positive results?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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I got a letter from my cord blood bank letting me know that my Hep b test came back with abnormal results, because Hep b core antibody was reactive. It said that it could be a false positive. I had a test in April which was negative. How common is it for these results to be false positive? In addition, if a mother has it, how is the newborn treated if it passes to them?
Posted Mon, 6 Jan 2014 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later
Brief Answer: common. You and your baby would be fine. Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about these results and all the troubling thoughts that this has caused you. The most common significance of this result is a resolving infection. Given the fact that you were negative in April, this would rather suggest a false positive than any resolution. Considering the information you have provided, there is no reason to get worried. Most cases of isolated Hep b Core antibody positivity as rightly suggested are false positives. These results in themselves represent no real danger to you or your unborn child. Antibodies do not transmit infections, only the virus can. IF the surface antigen test was positive, this would have implied that you have a virus in your system and the risk to you and your baby would have been real. With these results, there is no reason to get worried. Please visit this page for a more detailed interpretation: WWW.WWWW.WW I don't really want to get into how this is treated because there is no risk to your baby. However, it consist in administering hepatitis B antibody and vaccination at birth and then routine vaccination as in the general population. I hope you find the above information helpful and guiding. Thank you so much for using our services and I wish you the best of health. Please, feel free to ask for clarifications if need be. Thanks. Dr. Ditah, MD.
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Follow-up: How common is it for Hep B test to show false positive results? 7 minutes later
Thank you so much for your response. This makes me feel a lot better. I already submitted blood to my doctor for Hep b panel testing. My concern is that the baby was born 3 weeks ago and didnt get the initial shot because noone has tested me at the delivery. I only got a letter from core blood bank in the past week. Can the baby get shots and vaccine few weeks after birth if I am positive? Hopefully its just a false pos but i want to make sure that the baby gets the treatment he needs in the event he needs it.
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 46 minutes later
Brief Answer: If by any chance she is, then yes! Detailed Answer: Hi and thanks for following up with me. The chances of her being infected are very slim. If unfortunately(unlikely though!), that is the case, then she can always start the treatment options. The truth is that 9/10 persons who get infected by this virus fight their way out of it without ever requiring any medical intervention or taking drugs. This is however relatively higher in children but still promising enough to be very hopeful. Let us get the results first. Be calm and am pretty sure there wouldbe no reason to be concerned about. I wish you and the baby the best possible outcomes. Dr. Ditah, MD.
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