What does hepatitis B inactive mean?
Around 300 million people are inactive carriers The inactive HBsAg carrier state is diagnosed by absence of HBeAg and presence of anti-HBe, undetectable or low levels of HBV DNA in PCR-based assays, repeatedly normal ALT levels, and minimal or no necroinflammation, slight fibrosis, or even normal histology on biopsy.
The difference between active and inactive B virus
We will know the difference between active and inactive B virus after we know both:
Active B virus causes hepatitis C , and this inflammation is either acute or chronic as follows:
- Acute infection: It means that a person is sick for a short period, then recovers and the virus is removed from his body.
- Chronic inflammation: means that the disease is long-term, so the virus remains inside the patient’s body and does not recover from it throughout his life, and it may cause serious complications such as: liver damage, cirrhosis , and liver cancer, and the severity of the disease may reach death.
There is an incubation period for the virus ranging from 60-150 days from when the virus is transmitted to a person and before symptoms appear.
dormant b virus
Inactive B virus is defined as the presence of major antibodies to hepatitis B virus in an appreciable amount in the blood serum, with the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen not detectable in the blood serum, and hepatitis B virus DNA is usually present in the body in a significant amount.
It is called inactive because it is present in the body without causing symptoms of hepatitis C, and it may remain for several years in the body without the patient knowing of its presence.
This inactive virus can become active and cause hepatitis. Reactivation of the inactive virus is diagnosed by elevated liver enzymes with or without any symptoms, and it can cause acute hepatitis.
Dormant B virus usually becomes active when there are stimuli to activate it, such as:
- Exposure to chemotherapy that reduces immunity.
- Use of drugs that suppress the immune system, such as high-dose steroids, rituximab or narcotics.
- Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (AIDS) and failure to take antiretroviral drugs that have activity against hepatitis B virus.
- Doing an organ transplant or a bone marrow transplant.
So the difference between active and dormant B virus is that the active virus when transmitted to a person and infected with it causes inflammation, either acute or chronic, or the inactive virus does not cause any infection or disease unless it is activated.
How is hepatitis B virus transmitted?
The virus is transmitted through blood and other body fluids in several ways, including:
- An infected mother for her fetus at birth.
- Horizontal transmission means exposure to contaminated blood from an infected child to an uninfected child during the first five years of the child’s life.
- Needling, tattooing, perforating the ear, nose, navel, etc.
- Having sex with an infected person.
- Exposure to body fluids contaminated with the virus, such as: saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, and menstrual blood.
The virus remains outside living cells for 7 days, so it can be transmitted to a person without direct contact with another person.
How to prevent hepatitis B virus
The vaccination is the most effective way of prevention against infection with hepatitis B virus, which protects against the virus by more than 90%.
All infants are vaccinated in most countries within the national vaccination programme. As for adults, there are certain groups that it is preferable to take an additional dose of the vaccine, namely:
- People who periodically need units of blood, such as patients who are on dialysis .
- Organ transplant patients.
- People who intend to travel to countries where hepatitis B is common.
- Persons working in the health sector who may come into contact with blood during work.