Positive Serologic Test for Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

Differential Diagnosis

Hepatitis B virus infection

False-positive serologic test for hepatitis B virus

Suggested Additional Lab Testing

Acute hepatitis B

  • Patient is positive for IgM antibody to HBV core antigen.

  • Patient is usually positive for hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis B virus e antigen. Presence of the e antigen indicates a high degree of infectivity.

  • Patient is likely to be positive for serum HBV DNA; level can be followed to assess response to therapy.

Chronic hepatitis B

  • Liver function tests, especially aminotransferases, are likely to be elevated for more than 6 months.

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen is positive for more than 6 months.

  • Chronic cases are also positive for anti-HBV core antigen as total antibody or as IgG.

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