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Hepatitis B virus

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(virology) Orthohepadnavirus virus belonging to family Hepadnaviridae that may cause hepatitis B


Hepatitis is a condition characterized by liver inflammation. There are several factors that could lead to hepatitis but one of the major causes is due to infection of certain viruses. There are five major viruses causing hepatitis. They are referred to as hepatitis A virus (causing hepatitis A), hepatitis B virus (causing hepatitis B), hepatitis C virus (causing hepatitis C), hepatitis D virus (causing hepatitis D), and hepatitis E virus (causing hepatitis E).

Hepatitis B virus belongs to the genus Orthohepadnavirus of the family Hepadnaviridae. It is 42nm in diameter, with an outer sheath enclosing inner 27nm core particle containing the circular viral DNA. Aggregates of the envelope proteins are found in plasma and are referred to as hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg, previously called Australia antigen). The virus can persist for long periods in asymptomatic carriers. Its association with hepatocellular carcinoma is now well established.

The virus is transmitted through intravenous route. It may be spread by transfusions of infected blood or by direct contact to fomites (e.g. contaminated needles). It may also be spread through intimate personal contact.

Abbreviation / Acronym:

  • HBV

Scientific classification:

  • Family: Hepadnaviridae
  • Genus: Orthohepadnavirus
  • Species: Hepatitis B virus

See also: