hepatitis B virus hepatitis

Last edited 06/2018 and last reviewed 03/2022

Hepatitis B infection is a serious and common infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) (1)

  • HBV is an enveloped DNA virus. The complete virus particle is known as the Dane particle and has characteristic serological markers
  • it transmitted parenterally, or by intimate, usually sexual contact (1).

Hepatitis infection can be either:

  • acute
    • occurs in 1-4% of hospitalised patients with HBV, a figure which is increased by concomitant infection with hepatitis D virus
    • usually a self-limiting disease marked by acute inflammation and hepatocellular necrosis
    • case fatality rate is around 0.5–1%
  • chronic
    • defined as persistence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) for six months or more
    • chronic sequelae are attributed to deficiency in the host immune response rather than to the cytotoxicity of HBV
    • encompasses a spectrum of disease (1)