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Stages of Hepatitis B
Jun 29, 2005

Hi

I am a little confused about the stages of Hepatitis B. My doctor is a really nice person but seems a little shy to talk to me about my Hepatitis B. I get the impression that she thinks I am under a death sentence, but the things on the Internet tell me otherwise.

I believe I was exposed to Hepatitis B at the beginging of October 2004. I got tested in April 2005. The results showed HBsAG+, HBsAB-, HBeAG-, HBeAB+. I had ALT of 64. These were all of the tests I had. (I will be seeing a specialist soon).

My doctor thinks that Acute Hepatitis B lasts 6 weeks, (she showed me a diagram with markers). However, I explained that I thought the disgram was incorrect and Acute Hepatitis B is 6 months.

Only after the test results, in April I got a few signs of acute infection, i.e. very slight pain in right side just above floating ribs, and diarrhea. These signs have now almost gone. No other symptons.

Hepatitis B as far as I know has an incubation period of 6 weeks to 6 months. Is this incubation period considered part of acute infection? From what I read, I believe the acute stage occurs at the end of immune tolerance, i.e. when the body responds? Am I correct in this belief?

Further, I believe my results show that my body is intiating what appears to be an effective response? Am I correct?

Thank you so much for answering.

Response from Dr. McGovern

Unfortunately, the one test that I need to know to tell you whether this is acute or not is not in your list.

If there is a suspicion that someone has acute hepatitis B, the hepatitis B core IgM antibody should be drawn. If the Ig M is positive then the diagnosis has been made.

IgM is accompanied by high ALT and AST usually.

I cannot tell from your tests when you were infected. It is possible it is chronic without this information.

Please get serologies for hepatitis B core IgM and IgG and a HBV DNA prior to seeing your specialist so all the needed information is available on your initial visit. Dr. McGovern



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