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HBV surfarce antigen
Dec 31, 2001

I have seen charts which show HBV surface antigen disappearing 2-4 months post-exposure. In someone chronically infected, is the HBV surface antigen always detectable, regardless of time frame from exposure? At the time of physical symptoms (ie., right side pain, light stools, etc...), would the HBV surface antigen be detectable in serum, regardless of time frame from exposure? Thanks for your help.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

During the acute infection HBSAg should be detectable all the time. If the infection resolves, the surface antigen should be gone within 6 months. In chronic hepatitis B the surface antigen is almost always detectable. However there are rare cases where it is not and only core antibody and DNA are detectable. These are so called "occult" HBV. They may be responsible for liver disease without obvious causes and it may be more common in HIV patients. DTD



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