adoption comeunity

Adoption Shops & Adoption Services


Adoption Book Reviews


Hepatitis B Virus Photographs and Description

Electron micrographs and description by

Dr. Hans Ackermann

Hepatitis B Virus ..

Click on photo's for close up.

Explanation of antigens and antibodies for parents adopting from Asia.

The first picture (left) shows four hepatitis B viruses or "Dane particles", consisting of an envelope andan inner capsid with DNA. Phosphotungstate staining; magnification of the original is 297,000 times. The second picture (right) is at much lower magnification and displays spherical and tubular HBsAg ("Australia antigen") particles, stained with uranyl acetate.

The virus of type B hepatitis (hepadnavirus) is specific for humans and its target is the human liver. The virus causes inapparent, acute and various types of chronic infections. As every virus (or bacterium), the B virus consists of several antigens, each of which stimulate the human organism to produce specific antibodies.

An antigen is a molecule of carbohydrate or protein. An antibody is a protein produced by humans or other vertebrates in response to a foreign antigen. Its role is essentially protective. The presence of virus antigens in the blood proves the presence of the particular infecting virus. The presence, in the blood, of antibodies against this virus (or its antigens) proves that the virus is or has been present. It may indicate that the individual is immunized (protected) after a natural infection or a vaccination.

In hepatitis B infections, the most important antigens are the core (c) antigen and the surface (s) antigen. The full name of the latter is HBsAg. They give rise to antibodies named anti-c and anti-s, respectively, which appear after the c and s antigens. Antigen and antibody levels are determined by radioimmunoassay or enzymatic (ELISA) tests.

Acute infections and chronic infections are accompanied by modifications of liver function, wich are detectable biochemically and and can be used to predict the outcome of the disease. The most important tests are determination of transaminases (ALT and AST) and bilirubin.

The presence of anti-s and anti-c antibodies in HBsAg-negative persons, together with normal biochemical tests, indicates healing and immunity. B hepatitis has become chronic if HbsAg persists for than six months, transaminase and bilirubin levels remain elevated and the prothrombin-time (a blood coagulation test) is abnormally long. Chronic hepatitis may be "persistent" or relatively benign, or "active" and malign with a tendency to progress to cirrhosis. In developing countries, 70-100% of adults show evidence of past hepatitis B infection (presence of anti-s). Prevalence is particularly high in China and South-East Asia. In these countries, infections are generally perinatal, that is around the time of birth (not before because the virus does usually not cross the placenta)..

© Copyright Dr. Hans-W. Ackermann

Dr. Hans-W. Ackermann is a Professor with Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine at Laval University, Quebec, Qc Canada  G1K 7P4. Internet:   ackermann@mcb.ulaval.ca

Adoption Health


Hepatitis B

Physician Articles
FAQ Hepatitis B & Adoption from Asia - Martin; Dr. Jenista, MD
Hepatitis B - Dr. Worman, MD
Hep B Virus Description - Dr. Ackerman

Parenting Articles
What Our Daughters Taught Us
Adoptive Parents Discuss Hepatitis B

Physician reprints (Hepatitis B Coalition)
Hepatitis B FAQ - Dr. Wexler, MD
Advice For Adoptive Parents - Dr. Schwarzenberg, MD
The HBsAg Positive Patient - Dr. Smith, M.D.

Related Articles on Comeunity:
Tests and vaccinations for children adopted from Asia - Dr. Gindler, MD
Infectious Disease and the Internationally Adopted Child - Dr. Jenista, MD

Hepatitis B Links

Read Book Reviews
Meet the Authors

Shops & Services

Hepatitis Book Recommendations

Dr. Palmer's Hepatitis Liver Disease Dr. Worman's Liver Disorder Sourcebook


Book Reviews | Author Interviews

| How to Adopt | Adoption Travel | Adoption Lists | Talking About Adoption (The Triad) |
| Special Needs Adoption | Adoption Health | Travel Health | Adoption Medical Clinics |
| Real Moms Newsletter | Oh Wonderful Boys | Adoption Poetry |
| Infertility & the Adoption Journey | Humanitarian Aid |

This website and articles are copyright.

COMEUNITY http://www.comeunity.com Comeunity Home Adoption Health Hepatitis