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Hepatitis B Infection (HBV)

Case Definition

Acute Hepatitis B Infection [1]

Confirmed Case

  • Both HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) positive and immunoglobulin M antibody to HBV core antigen (anti-HBc IgM) positive in the context of compatible clinical history or probable exposure; OR
  • Clearance of HBsAg in a person who has prior positive HBsAg test result documented within the last 6 months in the context of a compatible clinical history or probable exposure.

Acute Hepatitis B Infection

Probable Case (not yet confirmed)

  • Acute clinical illness in a person who is epidemiologically linked to a confirmed case.

Chronic Hepatitis B Infection [1]

Confirmed Case

  • HBsAg positive for more than 6 months; OR
  • Detection of HBsAg in the documented absence of anti-HBc-IgM; OR
  • Detection of HBV DNA for more than 6 months.

Note:  In the absence of prior lab testing in British Columbia (BC), documentation received from other jurisdictions should be confirmed.  When a client who has immigrated to BC from a HBV endemic country presents with a HBsAg positive test result and has no history of acute symptoms, there is a high likelihood that this client has chronic HBV infection.

Undetermined Hepatitis B Infection

Confirmed Case

  • Does not fit the case definition for either an "acute" case or "chronic" infection;


  • HBsAg positive; OR
  • Detection of HBV DNA.

Note:  This may be the case with occult blood infection.


  1. Even with positive HBsAg and anti-HBc IgM test results, a compatible clinical history or probable exposure is necessary.  Clients with chronic HBV infection can experience a rise in anti-HBc-IgM related to reactivation or a flare.

Further Information

For more information on the case definition of hepatitis B, please refer to the Communicable Disease Control Manual, Hepatitis B: Section 2.0 .

SOURCE: Hepatitis B Infection (HBV) ( )
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