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Can Acute Hepatitis B Lead to a Chronic Condition?

by Chari Cohen, Hepatitis B Expert
August 30, 2018

Question: Can acute Hepatitis B lead to a chronic condition?

Answer: Yes, acute hepatitis B can lead to chronic hepatitis B in about 90-95% of people who are infected as babies/children and about 5-10% of people infected as adults. So, the younger someone is at the time of infection, the more likely that they are to develop a chronic (life-long) hepatitis B infection. It is important, when someone is diagnosed with hepatitis B to talk to their doctor about whether they have a new (acute) or chronic infection. Usually, the doctor will want to test someone for hepatitis B over a 6-month time period. If a person is still infected after 6 months, they are considered to have a chronic infection. Once a person knows they have a chronic hepatitis B infection, they will need to see a doctor who has experience managing hepatitis B, on a regular basis. For more about living with chronic hepatitis B, please visit: http://www.hepb.org/treatment-and-management/adults-with-hepatitis-b/.

Chari Cohen is Director of Public Health for the Hepatitis B Foundation.

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