Testing for chronic hepatitis B
An infectious inflammatory illness of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus, HBV can be either acute or chronic.
Transmission is usually the result of contact with infectious blood or body fluids containing blood and in Asia, where the prevalence of HBV is high, it is often passed from person to person through sexual contact, re-use of contaminated needles and syringes in drugs users as well as through blood transfusions.
Vaccination against hepatitis B is now part of the overall immunisation programme for children and while the number of cases has dropped, the disease is still prevalent among those who have not been immunised. Acute HBV often resolves itself but the chronic disease in many cases leads to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.