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Hepatitis
Dec 1, 2007

Dear Dr Barbara,

My brother is in India and travelling abroad for JOB. He is tested positive for HBsAg. The consulted doctor did some tests. Below are details

SGPT - 46 (normal range 5 - 40) HBV - DNA test : positive. method : PCR HBeAg test : Positive; CO/SR : 0.137/3.120; Method : Elisa

Is the virus just started or is he severly effected with HBV. How many days will it take for HBeAg to be negative.

Thanks.

Response from Dr. McGovern

You can only diagnose chronic hepatitis B infection after six months of testing. His SGPT is low so I suspect this is chronic, but his liver function tests should be followed as well.

I can't say anything about viral load because it was simply positive. Does not tell you anything about the viral load per se. Need a quantitative test for that.

If his liver function tests are nearly normal, he probably does not need treatment. However, sometimes I pursue a biopsy if I think a patient has had infection for a long time and I want to see if there is any disease. Sometimes the liver function tests can be misleading. I would wait for six months first.

The treatment of Hepatitis B is changing constantly and the recommendations are going to be reissued in the US in about a year. You will want a physician who keeps on top of this.



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