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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Hepatitis B Virus: Inactive carriers

Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Nitin Saini and Yogesh Chwla*

Author Affiliations

Head, Department of Hepatology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, 160012 India

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Virology Journal 2005, 2:82  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-2-82

Published: 28 September 2005

Abstract

Inactive carriers forms the largest group in chronic HBV infected patients. 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. Inactive cirrhosis may be present in patients who had active liver disease during the replicative phase of infection. The prognosis of the inactive HBsAg carrier state is usually benign. Long-term follow- up (up to 18 years) of these carriers has indicated that the vast majority show sustained biochemical remission and very low risk of cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Rarely, patients, even noncirrhotics, may develop liver cancer during the inactive HBsAg carrier state. In addition, approximately 20 to 30% of persons in the inactive HBsAg carrier state may undergo spontaneous reactivation of hepatitis B during follow-up. Multiple episodes of reactivation or sustained reactivation can cause progressive hepatic damage and even hepatic decompensation. Introduction