Chronic HBV infection is a necroinflammatory disease of the liver caused by persistent infection with HBV, and can be categorized as hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive or negative. Inactive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers have HBV infection of the liver without significant, ongoing necroinflammatory disease. HBV infection is resolved when there is no further virologic, biochemical, or histologic evidence of active viral infection or disease.
Since both clinically and biochemically, acute hepatitis due to HAV cannot be distinguished from that due to the other hepatitis viruses, serologic tests are necessary for a virus-specific diagnosis.
The antigens and antibodies associated with HBV infection include HBsAg (Australia antigen) and antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs), hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) and antibody to HBcAg (anti-HBc), and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and antibody to HBeAg (anti-HBe). At least one serologic marker is present during the different phases of HBV infection.
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is characterized by inflammatory liver histology, circulating non-organ-specific autoantibodies, and increased levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G in the absence of a known etiology.