This test is used in the diagnosis and monitoring of Hepatitis B (Hep B) infections. The Be Antigen test looks for the presence of a protein found in the blood when the Hep B virus is actively replicating. During these periods, a person is considered to be highly infectious and at a higher risk for spreading the virus to others. Pregnant women have a much greater risk of spreading the virus to their infants during birth when the Hep B virus is replicating. This state usually occurs 3-6 weeks after infection.
Hepatitis B is a viral liver infection which is spread through exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids. It is the most common cause of acute viral Hepatitis. Hepatitis B infections often show no symptoms but when symptoms do occur they are often described as flu-like. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, joint pain, fatigue, jaundice, and dark colored urine. Chronic Hep B infections can cause serious health complications like Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer.
The Hepatitis Be Antigen test can be used to screen for Hep B. However it is not effective at detecting the virus during a latent period when it is not actively replicating. The Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Test or the Hepatitis B Panel are more commonly ordered as screenings because they can detect both recent and chronic infections. The Be Antigen test is often ordered by people who are receiving treatment for Hepatitis B because it can help to determine if they have been effective in halting the replication of the virus.
Turnaround time for the Hepatitis Be Antigen test is typically 1-2 business days.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
The incubation period for Hepatitis Be Antigen varies but ranges between 3-6 weeks.
The Hepatitis Be Antigen has no fasting requirements.
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