patients generally recover from acute hepatitis, while they show no symptoms but still carry the virus and can pass it toothers.

During this stage,what is the HBV doing, and what do you call this stage of the virus life cycle?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver characterized by jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), abdominal pain, and nausea. Viral infection is one of the many causes of hepatitis. Although, patients are no longer exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis they may still be infected with the virus.

Viruses are obligate, intracellular parasites. This means they must enter a cell in order to replicate new viral particles. Hepatitis B viruses enter liver cells in order to replicate. In some cases, the hepatitis B virus will incorporate its genome into the host cell genome.

The virus in this stage is inactive and does not produce viral particles. Since the cell is not actively producing virus proteins (antigens), the host immune system does not recognize that the cell is infected. As such, the cell is not destroyed. Liver cell destruction by the immune system is actually what causes the symptoms of hepatitis. Additionally, since the immune system cannot recognize infected cells it cannot clear the viral infection.

The stage in which the virus has incorporated its genome into the host genome is called the lysogenic phase. Patients that have lysogenic hepatitis B virus are called carriers. This is because the hepatitis B virus can "hop" back out of the genome at any time and produce infective viral particles.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Some people show no symptoms but still carry the virus.During this stage,what is the HBV doing, and what do you call this stage of the virus life cycle?

Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver in humans and travels throught the bloodstream.  The primary ways hepatitis B is contracted are through transmission of blood fluids, sexual intercourse, contaminated needles among drug-users, and vertical contact between mother and unborn child.  The virus is rarely fatal, but can cause fever, jaundice, vomiting, and lowered functionality of the liver. 

The stage you are referring to is often called the latent stage in viral development.  When the virus makes it's initial invasion, replication takes place within the host's liver cells.  The body's immune system recognizes the viral invaders and starts the process of combatting the  virus.  Part of the virus is left within the cells of the liver, however, and for lack of a better term, "lies low" while the battle rages within the host's blood stream.  The virus thus reemerges after a certain recovery period.  People who exhibit this cyclical pattern are said to have "chronic hepatitis B" and are identified as carriers of the virus.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Generally people recover from acute hepatitis.  While they show no symptoms, they continue to carry the hepatitis B virus and can on to others.  During this stage, what is HBV doing?  What do we call this stage of the virus life cycle?

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.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on