Virological and serological features of acute hepatitis B in adults

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Various viral kinetics among patients with acute hepatitis B (AHB) have been observed in clinical practice. This study investigated the virological, biochemical, and serological characteristics of AHB in adults.

A total of 192 adult patients with AHB were recruited between December 2010 and January 2014. The quantification of biochemical and serologic markers for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was monitored from the onset.

Of the 192 patients, 113 patients were followed up. One patient died due to acute liver failure, 2 developed chronic HBV infection. Clinical recovery was observed in 110 patients; 92.7% (102/110) achieved clinical recovery within 24 weeks, and 7.3% (8/110) between 24 and 44 weeks. There were 3 different viral kinetics patterns among the patients with AHB: the clearance of HBV DNA preceded hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), the clearance of HBeAg preceded HBV DNA and HBsAg, the clearance of HBsAg preceded HBV DNA and HBeAg.

In the absence of HBV DNA clearance within 13 weeks, the risk of development of chronic HBV infection increased. The serologic HBV markers clearance occurred between 24 and 44 weeks (6–11 months) from the onset in 8 of the AHB patients, which was longer than 6 months. Thus, AHB may be redefined as HBV DNA undetectable, HBsAg and HBeAg seroconversion within 44 weeks.

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