How is a patient’s level of infectivity determined in hepatitis B (HBV) (Hep B) 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

To evaluate the patient’s level of infectivity, quantification of hepatitis (HBV) DNA is essential, and the presence of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) should be determined. Indeed, the best indication of active viral replication is the presence of HBV DNA in the serum. Hybridization or more sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay techniques are used to detect the viral genome in the serum, as well as specific genotypes, mutants resistant to oral nucleoside and nucleotide analogues, and core and precore mutations.

A positive result suggests not only the likelihood of active hepatitis but also that the disease is much more infectious, as the virus is actively replicating. [40]


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