How is hepatitis B (HBV) (Hep B) transmitted and what is the outcome of infection?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

HBV is transmitted hematogenously and sexually. The outcome of this infection is a complicated viral-host interaction that results in either an acute symptomatic disease or an asymptomatic disease. Patients clear HBV and develop anti-HBs; however, as long as the individual has antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg), he or she is at risk for reactivation, because HBV infection remains an incurable disease, similar to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections. Alternatively, the patient may develop a chronic infection state with positivity for HBsAg. Late consequences are cirrhosis and the development of HCC in 15-30% of individuals. [4, 5, 6, 7]


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