How is severity determined in hepatitis B virus (HBV) (Hep B)?

Updated: Jun 08, 2021
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Serologic tests for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) immunoglobulin M (IgM) are required for the diagnosis of acute hepatitis B virus (HBV). [1, 40, 41]  HBsAg is positive in both acute and chronic HBV infection; however, the presence of IgM anti-HBc is diagnostic of acute or recently acquired infection. [40] Antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs) is produced after a resolved infection and is the only HBV antibody marker present after vaccination. The presence of HBsAg and total anti-HBc, with a negative test for IgM anti-HBc, indicates chronic HBV infection; the absence of IgM anti-HBc or the persistence of HBsAg for 6 months indicates chronic HBV infection. The presence of anti-HBc alone might indicate acute, resolved, or chronic infection or a false-positive result. [40]

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