Generally people recover from acute hepatitis. While they show no symptoms, they continue to carry the hepatitis B virus and can pass...
it on to others. During this stage, what is HBV doing? What do we call this stage of the virus life cycle?
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After a person has contracted the HBV virus, their body builds up antibodies to fight off the virus. Most people can fight it off and usually get rid of it. This is acute hepatitis. But, some people continue to carry it in their systems, may or may not ever get sick again, but are contagious to others. This is called chronic hepatitis and is much more severe.
The virus goes through several cycles as the disease progresses. They are called: immune tolerant phase, immune clearance phase, and the quiescent phase.
Immune Tolerant Phase: virus has entered the body but the body doesn't recognize it yet. There usually aren't any symptoms or inflammation; this phase can last up to forty years.
Immune Clearance Phase: the immune system starts to react to the virus, produces antibodies, and the antibodies attack the HBV-infected liver cells, causing liver damage.
Quiescent Phase: a phase where viral growth is low and patients may show no symptoms. The virus can become active again at any time, especially if much damage was done during the immune clearance phase.
This third phase is when most people are "healthy carriers," often infecting other people because they don't know they still have the virus in their systems. There is no cure for this type of hepatitis, but a vaccine can prevent recurrences and the risk for further liver damage.
A person who has contracted hepatitis is a risk to others for the remainder of their days! The best thing that can be done is to prevent people from getting the disease in the first place.
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