Australian hepatitis (HBsAg) is an antigen - part of a viral cell. To determine the presence of inflammation in the liver can be due to the identification of antigen. If doctors have discovered HBsAg during a diagnostic examination, then we are talking about an acute or chronic course of hepatitis B.
It is necessary to consider the peculiarities of the antigen that forms the outer part of the infectious pathogen, information about how the hepatitis virus is transmitted is also important.
What is the essence of antigen?
Australian antigen is present in the body of 300 million people on the planet. You can identify it in all biological fluids of man. Most often, patients donate blood for analysis.
The antigen can be transmitted by direct contact with the blood of an infected person. There are the following ways of transmission of the virus:
- intravenous or intramuscular injection using an insufficiently sterile syringe,
- blood transfusion of an infected person,
- infection in the process of manicure or pedicure, if the master does not comply with sanitary and hygienic norms during the work,
- perinatal transmission of the virus from an infected mother to a child,
- unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person.
Australian hepatitis molecules are quite resistant to high and low temperatures.
Penetrating into the liver, the antigen is inserted into the DNA of human cells, producing viral particles. A month later, the virus enters the systemic circulation, so at this stage the antigen can be detected in a blood test. The incubation period covers the time period from one month to six months.
Recovery occurs in 90% of cases, but in medical practice there are frequent cases of the disease becoming chronic.
It is important to understand that this disease causes death and causes disability of millions of people every year.
Symptoms of the disease
2-3 months after infection, the first symptomatic signs of Australian hepatitis appear:
- loss of appetite,
- pain in the joints
- itching in the skin,
- the urine becomes cloudy and foamy
- general malaise,
- yellowing of the whites of the eyes.
Hepatitis B antigen can be detected at home using a rapid test. To do this, you need to purchase a special kit in the pharmacy, including a scarifier, which determines the strip, the container and the solution for detecting the antigen. The testing procedure involves the following sequence of actions:
- wipe the ring finger with alcohol,
- using a scarifier, prick a finger
- apply a small amount of blood on the strip,
- put the strip into the container, adding a few drops of solution,
- wait 15 minutes.
The presence of 1 strip indicates the absence of antigen, and the appearance of 2 stripes means that you are infected with the hepatitis B virus.
In the latter case, you should immediately consult a doctor who will prescribe you an additional diagnostic examination.
Do I need to treat?
Doctors believe that hepatitis in acute form does not need therapy. Enough to strengthen the immune forces of the body during the activation of a viral infection. It is important to consider the necessary therapeutic measures:
- Liver protection. Observed dysfunction of the patient's body. In order to avoid intoxication, it is recommended to put droppers, which contribute to the elimination of the breakdown products of pathogens from the body.
- Dieting. You can not eat smoked foods, use spices for cooking. Give up bad habits.
In the chronic form of the disease therapy is mandatory. The doctor prescribes drugs that deactivate the hepatitis B virus. Often used antiviral agents that have a devastating effect on hepatitis cells, inhibiting the growth of their number.
Before starting therapy, carefully read the instructions for use of medications. It is important to understand that only the doctor can prescribe the exact dosage, frequency and time interval for taking, given the history of the disease and the physiological characteristics of your body. Some drugs have many side effects.
The course of treatment is more than a year. Necessary diet and systematic examination in the clinic. After six months, re-diagnosis is carried out.
If the antigen in the blood is missing, then we can talk about the patient's recovery. If the doctor does not observe positive dynamics of clinical symptoms, the treatment continues for six months.
Vaccination is the only way to avoid infection. The vaccine is valid for 15–20 years, and then the procedure must be repeated.
Maintaining cleanliness, using only personal hygiene items, avoiding casual sexual intercourse are the very measures that will reduce the risk of infection with Australian hepatitis. Therefore, do not neglect preventive measures.
When it comes to the Australian antigen, many people ask what it is. As mentioned above, the antigen is a kind of indicator of the presence of infection with hepatitis B. Additionally, people are interested in how much they live with it. It cannot be said that there is a certain standard of life expectancy in the detection of Australian hepatitis. In most cases, people are completely cured, so they can live a long time. It is important to undergo a timely diagnostic examination and follow the instructions of the doctor.
Stages of development
If an antigen or Australian hepatitis is detected in the patient's blood, this indicates that the person has hepatitis B. The HbsAg marker plays an important role in the diagnosis of this disease, since it is possible to assess the state of the liver, to determine the extent of its damage.
The hepatitis virus surface antigen is a combination of proteins, lipids, glycoproteins and lipoproteins. He is responsible for introducing the virus into hepatocytes (liver cells), after which active DNA reproduction begins.
- Infection. After the virus has entered the human body, it needs time to penetrate. The course of the disease is secretive. The incubation period lasts up to 4 weeks, but sometimes on the 14th day it is in the blood. The virus actively multiplies and accumulates. When an Australian antigen appears in the blood, the first symptoms appear.
- Fixation in the cells of the liver. The virus enters the hepatocytes, and then spreads throughout the body. At this stage, symptoms of intoxication appear, liver failure develops.
- Immunological response. Immunity from hepatitis B is formed. The symptoms of the disease completely disappear, and the liver cells are restored.
The marker of Australian hepatitis is endowed with a special property. It protects the liver from re-infection. If the patient fully recovers, he will not get sick again.
You can become infected in such cases:
- with blood transfusions or organ transplants,
- when using non-sterile syringes, surgical instruments,
- when tattooing,
- from mother to child (during gestation, during childbirth or after),
- through the use of other personal hygiene items.
The source of infection - carriers of the virus or patients with hepatitis B. The virus enters the body of a healthy person through blood or biological fluid.
The Australian antigen infection risk group includes:
- pregnant women
- medical staff who are often in contact with the blood of patients
- patients preparing for surgery,
- patients with cirrhosis of the liver,
- drug addicts,
Symptoms appear at a time when the concentration of the virus in the blood is large enough. Symptoms are as follows:
- loss of appetite,
- body temperature rises above 37 ˚C
- itching all over the body, skin rashes in the joints,
- dark urine, clarification of feces,
- violation of the chair,
- nausea is possible
- pain in right side,
- jaundice (in 1/3 of cases of the disease).
The severity of symptoms depends on the individual patient.
The disease can be acute and chronic. In 90% of cases, full recovery occurs, in 5-10% the disease becomes chronic, and the patient becomes a carrier of viral hepatitis.
Chronic hepatitis is asymptomatic, it can be detected only by the content of the Australian antigen in the blood.
What is Australian hepatitis
Australian Hepatitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the hepatocytes (liver cells, which make up approximately 70-80% of the total liver mass), which results in damage to the entire organ. Many people do not know what Australian hepatitis is.
It should be more attentive to their health and periodically conduct a medical examination to be calm for their health and the health of loved ones.
In about one in 20 infected patients, the virus remains in the body forever. This is called chronic or prolonged hepatitis. Over time, this causes serious damage to the liver. Prompt medical care and a healthy lifestyle can ease the course of the disease and slow its development.
If the virus is detected during pregnancy, then there is a risk of transmission of the virus to the baby too. It is for this reason that a regular blood test is offered for all pregnant women to detect infection.
If a child appears in families in which someone from the inner circle or the mother herself is sick, then vaccinations after birth can protect the newborn baby from infection. If the level of antigen in the blood is high, the woman is offered treatment during pregnancy.
Sources of infection
Australian hepatitis is transmitted from person to person with body fluids such as blood, saliva, semen or vaginal fluids. In areas where the disease is common, there have been cases of infection during birth or contact with other people's blood.
In places where the disease is rare, intravenous drug use and unprotected sexual intercourse are the most common sources of infection.
Additional risk factors include health care, blood transfusions, dialysis, living with a patient, visiting countries with a high degree of infected residents.
Tattoos and acupuncture led to a significant number of infections at the end of the last century, as there were no special requirements for the sterilization of instruments.
The disease does not spread with a handshake, hug, cough, sneeze.
Stages and complications
The disease has four stages of development:
- Immune tolerance - characterized by a high level of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the presence of HBeAg. There is a minimal immune response to the presence of infection and, consequently, a low risk of liver damage at this stage.
- Immune clearance - (immune active) when the immune system tries to clear the virus, causing damage to the liver. This phase is characterized by fluctuating ALT and variable levels of HBV DNA.
- Immune control - when the immune system successfully controls the virus, which results in low levels of HBV DNA. At this stage, patients are usually HBeAb positive, with normal liver function. If complete eradication is achieved (in children
0.5 - 1% per year), the patient will remove the HBsAg and develop the HBsAb, indicating the resolution of the infection.
From the moment of infection until the onset of signs of the disease can take from 30 to 180 days. And although most patients with a chronic course have no symptoms, the virus ultimately leads to cirrhosis or liver cancer. These complications cause the death of 15 to 25% of patients with chronic disease. If other blood parameters with the presence of hepatitis in the body do not deviate from the norm, special treatment is not indicated.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Laboratory determination typically consists of liver enzyme tests, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), and liver function (LFT), which include total and direct serum bilirubin, albumin and the measurement of the international standardized ratio (INR).
Hematological and coagulation studies also include platelet count and complete blood count (CBC). Ammonia levels can be obtained, but the results often create diagnostic confusion among doctors.
Serological tests for surface antibodies are necessary for the diagnosis of acute Australian antigen. A positive result indicates not only the likelihood of an Australian antigen in the blood, but also that the disease is much more contagious, since the virus is actively replicating.
The acute form does not usually require intervention, and most adult physically healthy people cope with the virus on their own. Prescribing antiviral drugs is necessary in less than 1% of patients in whom the infection becomes very aggressive..
Also, treatment of the chronic form is required to reduce the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. People with elevated levels of antibodies in the blood are candidates for therapy. Treatment lasts from 6 months to 1 year, depending on the treatment prescribed and the organism’s genotype.
Prognosis and prevention
Persons with a self-limiting (acute) stage of the course of the disease independently cope with the infection for several weeks or months from the moment of infection. Over 95% of infected adults and older children can fully recover and develop protective immunity to the virus.
Children under one year are less likely to cope with the infection on their own.
Only 30% of young children, and 5% of a newborn who received infection from the mother at birth, can cope with the disease. This risk group is 40% of patients with positive results of PCR, and can die from liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma, or the disease becomes chronic.
Early treatment during pregnancy and vaccination of newborns will help to avoid problems. To prevent the disease, it is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to pass the necessary tests in a timely manner and to vaccinate.
Essence of Australian Hepatitis
Australian hepatitis indicates that the person is guaranteed to be infected with the hepatitis B virus, and is characterized by the presence of the HBsAg antigen of this virus, which indicates that the person is the carrier of the Australian antigen. In turn, such an antigen is a mixture of proteins, glycoproteins, lipoproteins and lipids of cellular origin. It forms the outer shell of the hepatitis B virus.
Antigen provides adsorption of the virus on the surface of hepatocytes of the liver. Once the virus is introduced into liver cells, they become the source of new viral DNA and proteins.
Reproduced molecules of the Australian antigen enter the blood.It has a fairly high resistance to various influences: does not change when heated to 60ºC, resistant to cyclic freezing. Its chemical resistance extends to formulations with a pH from 2 to 10, i.e. both to acid and alkaline environments. It withstands treatment with urea, chloramine (1-2%), phenol (2%), formalin (0.1%). that provides reliable protection for the hepatitis B virus.
Australian antigen has a very important property, consisting in the ability to initiate the formation of antibodies that protect against subsequent infection with the hepatitis virus. Most hepatitis B vaccines are obtained by injecting antigen particles or polypeptides thereof.
Australian antigen is detected by laboratory testing of blood. The analysis for the detection of hepatitis markers is based on serological studies or modern immunoassay. The Australian antigen is manifested in the required amount for research within 20-30 days after the virus enters the body.
A blood test with the presence of an antigen indicates a number of possible diagnoses. If the Australian antigen is combined with the protein nuclei of the virus and antibodies, then acute viral hepatitis B develops. The diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B is made if the Australian antigen is detected in combination with a positive virus body and high antibody titer. Hepatitis is at the stage of complete recovery, if the antigen is blocked by positive antibodies in the absence of virus nuclei.
Thus, the concentration of Australian antigen increases in the course of the disease. With a favorable course of treatment, it should almost completely disappear after 3 months, which indicates recovery. The increase in the concentration of antibodies blocking the antigen indicates the correct choice of treatment. If the Australian antigen is found in a healthy person, then it is necessary to conduct a complex of studies on the presence of the hepatitis B virus.
Sometimes such analyzes, carried out within 2-3 months, show the absence of the disease. Then this fact suggests that the person is the carrier of the Australian antigen, which makes it potentially dangerous and belongs to the risk group for infection with hepatitis B. It carries ready-made containers for the virus.
The detection requirements for the Australian antigen are high. Therefore, studies of various levels of complexity have been adopted. The first level includes tests on the precipitation reaction in the gel. The second level is based on:
- reactions of counter immune electrophoresis,
- associated complement
- fluorescent antibody method
- immune microscopy.
The most modern and accurate is the third type of research, which includes ELISA and radioimmunoassay, time-resolved immune fluorescence and some others. The sensitivity of such studies is in the range from 5 mg / ml (first level) to 0.1-0.5 ng / ml (enzyme immunoassay).
Detection of an Australian antigen indicates the presence of hepatitis B (in acute viral or chronic form). The causative agent of the disease is a virus that spreads through the blood or sexually. The source of infection can only be people who become ill with hepatitis B or who are carriers of the virus. Most often the infection is transmitted by blood transfusion or by using an unsterilized syringe. The virus is able to maintain survivability in a blood particle on the surface of a medical instrument for a long time. The risk is represented by tattoo operations.
Hepatitis B develops slowly and at the first stage does not manifest itself by external signs. Symptoms may appear after 20-30 days.
The main signs of the disease:
- jaundice of the skin and whites of the eyes,
- dark urine
- white feces,
- pain in the right side,
- itching all over,
- constant body temperature over 37 ° C,
- pain in the joints
- weakness of the whole organism
- loss of appetite, bitterness in the mouth.
The initial diagnosis is made by serological analysis of blood and urine analysis.
Hepatitis B can develop in an acute or chronic form. Acute viral hepatitis B is quite active, but when taking measures in most cases (up to 90%) it is completely cured. However, in some people (up to 10%) the disease becomes chronic. Chronic hepatitis B can last for a long time, and subside for a long time, and then appear again. Most often, the chronic form is characterized by cyclicality: the period of mass reproduction of microorganisms is replaced by the period of embedding the structure of the virus into the liver tissue, i.e. slow destruction of the liver tissue.
Chronic hepatitis may not have any external symptoms, and it can only be determined by the content of the Australian antigen in the blood.
This form is very dangerous for its complications, sometimes leading to cirrhosis of the liver.
Topical treatment of the disease
Australian hepatitis B hepatitis B requires different treatment, depending on the form of the course. Usually the human body is able to cope with the acute viral form of the disease, and the goal of treatment is to provide maximum assistance to it.
In the absence of pathologies and complications, the virus dies in 40-60 days, with appropriate medical assistance to the body.
Treatment for hepatitis B is primarily based on maintaining a strict diet. If Australian antigen is detected in the blood, then you should strictly prohibit the use of alcohol, fatty meat and fish, all types of fried foods, hot sauces and seasonings, carbonated drinks, chocolate, preservatives and marinades. The dietary table for Australian hepatitis should include cereals, boiled cereal side dishes, vegetables, low-fat boiled meat, steam cutlets, grated fruits, and natural juices. It is necessary to eat in small portions evenly, 5 times a day. It is necessary to completely eliminate stressful situations.
With the development of the disease it is important to maintain the functioning of the liver, and since toxic substances accumulate in it, it is necessary to clean them. Droppers with special liquid formulations are used for this purpose. Such drugs thin the blood, forcing more actively remove the poisons from the liver, which are then removed with urine. Help the liver have hepatoprotectors that prevent the destruction of the body, and strengthen vitamin injections.
If the Australian antigens are preserved in high concentrations after 2-3 months of illness, one can speak of a chronic form of hepatitis. In this case, you should include medical methods. Antivirals, such as alpha-interferon and lamivudine, are prescribed. To enhance the impact of the doctor may establish their joint reception. The use of these drugs can cause side effects, which requires additional control. Treatment of chronic hepatitis can last more than 12 months.
Australian hepatitis involves hepatitis B with the active participation of the Australian antigen. The disease is a fairly dangerous disease, but timely diagnosis by the presence of antigen allows you to successfully deal with it.
Causes and causative agent of viral hepatitis
Hepatitis B is a disease of viral origin. The pathogen is stable in the external environment and can persist in whole blood for years. It can be destroyed in an autoclave at a temperature of 120 ° C in 45 minutes or by sterilization with dry heat at 180 ° C in 60 minutes. The effect of formalin, chloramine, hydrogen peroxide is no less damaging to it.
The virus is in the patient's blood. An infected person becomes the source of the spread of the disease long before the first clinical signs appear, but the diagnosis of blood for antigens makes it possible to detect hepatitis B in its early stages.
There are several ways to transmit the virus:
- with blood (it can be detected on poorly disinfected medical and dental equipment, reusable needles, piercing and tattoo tools), including through blood transfusion,
- during sexual intercourse,
- during childbirth from an infected mother to a baby.
In humans, the virus enters the hepatocytes - the liver cells. There, it multiplies and forms new viral particles that spread to neighboring cells and gradually seize liver tissue.
Most infections occur in countries in Asia and Africa, as well as in South America. The disease is least often recorded in North America and European countries. This indicator is associated with the environmental situation and consciousness of the population, as well as with the level of asepsis in medical institutions. At risk are adults over the age of 25 to 45 years. Children infected in the first years of life, in 25% of cases die from liver cancer.
Jaundice occurs in patients with serious changes in the structure of the liver. Before it begins to manifest itself, the disease can be suspected by uncharacteristic symptoms, which are combined into several major syndromes:
- Arthralgic - associated with pain in the joints, but visual changes in the joint are not observed. The pain intensifies at night and in the first hours after waking up, and during movement it subsides for a while. The syndrome is complemented by a rash on the type of urticaria (rash).
- Dyspeptic - is characterized by pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract. The patient loses his appetite, he begins to lose weight on the background of digestive disorders.
- Asteno-vegetative - the patient suffers from general malaise, weakness, reduced performance.
A blood test at this stage will indicate the presence of a pathogen in the blood. It is impossible to determine the disease by clinical signs, since the virus still does not destroy the liver cells.
If you do not start treatment at the previous stage, the disease continues to progress. Liver damage is accompanied by a violation of the outflow of bile and the development of jaundice. The skin and visible mucous membranes of the patient become jaundiced. This syndrome is accompanied by pruritus and the appearance of large bruises. At the same time, occasional nosebleeds may occur.
The liver is inflamed, enlarged, stands for the edges of the costal arch. Its consistency is soft, with painful palpation. If the organ does not grow, it may indicate a severe course of hepatitis, in which case the jaundice is more intense. Against the background of changes in the tissues, an increase and inflammation of the spleen occurs.
Joint pain in this period subsides slightly, but dyspeptic syndrome progresses. The disease is accompanied by anorexia, intermittent nausea and vomiting. The course of this stage is long, it can drag on for a month or more.
Complications of viral hepatitis
The most dangerous complication of the disease is hepatic coma. This phenomenon occurs in the case of massive destruction of hepatocytes (liver cells) and persistent inhibition of its function. The condition is manifested by intoxication and impaired activity of the nervous system. In its development, coma goes through 3 successive stages.
The first stage (first precoma) is characterized by increased icteric syndrome, painful sensations in the liver. Among the nerve symptoms in a patient diagnosed:
- incoordination of movements, orientation in space,
- persistent tachycardia (increased heart rate),
- sleep disorders, insomnia,
- psycho-emotional instability - frequent changes of mood, lethargy, apathy, aggression.
These clinical signs appear constantly. During the day, the patient feels dips (loss of orientation in space when closing the eyes).
At the stage of the second precoma, intoxication continues to increase, and the patient’s consciousness becomes even more confused. In addition to already existing signs, additional ones develop:
- trembling limbs and tip of the tongue,
- loss of orientation in time
- frequent mood swings, euphoria gives way to apathy and vice versa.
The liver grows in size and may become unavailable for palpation. Edema and signs of ascites appear (accumulations of excess fluid in the abdominal cavity). The total duration of the first and second precoma can range from several hours to several days.
The third stage is the actual coma. If it is shallow, the patient maintains corneal and swallowing reflexes, he reacts to strong stimuli. There is uncontrolled urination and defecation. When deep coma reflexes are oppressed, there is a risk of death in cardiovascular failure.
Diagnosis of Hepatitis
A diagnosis of viral hepatitis B is considered established based on clinical signs, ultrasound results, and blood tests. Using ultrasound, it is possible to determine characteristic changes in the liver, but they are not visible at all stages of the disease. A blood test will also identify specific viral antigens and identify the type of virus.
What is an Australian antigen?
In order to figure out where to look for the Australian antigen and what it is, you need to understand what the antigens are. This name combines all proteins synthesized by viruses. In response to these substances, the human immune system produces antibodies (immunoglobulins) - cells that interact with antigens and destroy them.
The hepatitis B virus secretes several antigens (AH). Superficial hypertension (HBsAg) was named Australian due to the fact that it was first found in Australian Aborigines. It is most important in the diagnosis of hepatitis: it is his presence in the blood that indicates Hepatitis B.
How is the analysis done?
The essence of all blood tests comes down to the formation of an antigen-antibody reaction. The blood of a sick person or a potential carrier of the virus is combined with a reagent that contains antibodies. If the result is positive, the antibodies reacted with the antigen, and the diagnosis of hepatitis B can be considered confirmed. The value of laboratory tests is that they can detect the disease in the early stages, including during the incubation period.
At home, you can conduct a rapid test to identify the Australian antigen. The kit for analysis is sold in pharmacies, it includes a scarifier, a test strip and a container for a special solution. The procedure is easy to carry out yourself:
- process the finger with alcohol and pierce the scarifier,
- put a drop of blood on the test strip, wait a minute,
- Place the paper in a container and add the test liquid to it.
The reaction time is 15 minutes, then you can check the result. One bar indicates a negative result (no Australian antigen was detected in human blood). If two strips are clearly visible, an urgent need to contact the laboratory for a complete blood count. The person is a potential carrier of the hepatitis B virus.
Laboratory blood tests
Serological tests (reactions with serum) are carried out in the laboratory with special equipment. One of the highly sensitive diagnostic methods is used:
- ELISA - enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, based on the reaction of antigen-antibody,
- XRF is the reaction of fluorescent antibodies (the principle is the same, but during the reaction the material is stained with a special dye, which forms a glow under a microscope with a positive result).
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis B in the acute stage. The patient is hospitalized and prescribed supportive therapy, which can relieve symptoms of intoxication and prevent the destruction of liver tissue. The course of treatment includes antibiotics, antispasmodics, steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
In less developed countries, options for medical care are usually limited, with a high probability of death. Acute viral hepatitis provokes the development of liver cancer or its cirrhosis, and these conditions are not treated by medication. In advanced states, it is possible to provide a patient a full life with chemotherapy, surgery, or even a liver transplant.
Prevention and prognosis
The only way to avoid the spread of viral hepatitis is to prevent it. It is necessary to take measures to prevent the transmission of the virus from a sick person to a healthy one:
- Before donating blood to all donors carry out its full analysis. This method will help identify the carriers of the virus during the incubation period. A person who has had hepatitis (even if the viral origin of the disease has not been confirmed) cannot act as a donor.
- Conducting thorough sterilization of medical equipment, which is intended for reuse. Whenever possible use disposable tools.
- Individual prevention consists in their own personal hygiene items, avoiding casual sex, as well as in preventing injuries at home or in the workplace.
The only way to prevent the spread of the disease among children is vaccination. Vaccination is necessary for newborns in the first days of life, it will ensure the formation of antibodies against the hepatitis virus. The following vaccinations are mandatory:
- children born to mothers who are potential carriers of the virus
- graduates of medical schools,
- pupils and employees of orphanages and boarding schools,
- people who are in contact with infected material,
- patients who need periodic blood transfusions,
- Persons who work in laboratories.
The Australian antigen is a specific protein secreted by the hepatitis B virus. It is the one that matters in the diagnosis of this disease: its presence in the blood provides the basis for confirming the diagnosis. Viral hepatitis B is a dangerous disease that is especially prevalent in underdeveloped countries. Infection occurs through blood, sex with carriers of the virus, as well as during delivery from an infected mother to the baby. There is no specific treatment, and the only reliable way to prevent the disease is vaccination.
Features of the infection and its spread
Australian hepatitis is a complex formation of particles of different origin. Scientists have identified eight agents that form the shell of the virus. Of these, five subtypes are rare. It is the presence of certain agents, their quantitative ratio, that form a certain subtype of the disease.
Each is characterized by territoriality:
- The first section captures the territory of the Middle East, southern Europe and African countries. Our country, Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia are included in the list. In Russia, this type of Australian hepatitis is found in 90% of those infected. It is encoded as HBsAg / ay, and is called the territory of Y.
- The second fragment of the virus envelope is denoted by the letter D, distributed in the northern and central parts of Europe, Thailand, Indonesia, and northern Africa.
- The third distribution site of the Australian antigen extends to the Far East and the south of the Asian part of Eurasia. A typical virus agent for a shell is denoted by R.
- Mixing different genotypes of the virus is typical of the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
Genetics note that the differences in the genotypes of different types of hepatitis B are minimal. For the first time a question studied in Australia. Hence the name of the antigen.
Often the Australian antigen is present in patients with hemophilia. They tolerate transfusions. Therefore, scientists have suggested that HBsAg is distributed through donor blood. Later, genetics won the Nobel Prize for their discovery.
How does the infection occur?
Hepatitis B affects the liver. The nature of the pathology is inflammatory. The source of infection is a sick person.
The virus carrier without manifestations of the disease is also dangerous. Without knowing what is contagious, the carrier spreads the disease.
When the infection reaches the liver, the protein coat is adsorbed, and the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of the virus infects the cells of the organ. Active pathogen reproduction begins. Antibodies appear in response to the antigen.
The pathogen is resistant to environmental factors, withstands:
- multiple freezing,
- heating up to 60 degrees
- processing by various chemical means.
Accordingly, it is necessary to carefully treat surgical instruments not only with disinfectant solutions.
Cleaning should be three-step:
- Disinfection with specialized chemicals.
- Presterilizing cleaning with cleaning solutions.
- Sterilization in a dry heat oven or in an autoclave.
The penetration of the pathogen occurs only parenterally, when the biological fluid of the patient enters the blood of a healthy person.
"To catch the infection" in the household way is impossible. Therefore, you should not avoid communicating with your friend or relative, if he is the carrier of the Australian antigen.
How and where does a person become infected:
- During the injection of contaminated needles or accidental cut with such a point. There are cases when medical workers are infected with an infected syringe, puncturing a finger.
- With the transfusion of blood and its components, transplantation of infected organs. Donor material must be quarantined, that is, frozen. After six months, re-analysis of HBsAg. This is done due to the long incubation period of the virus. However, there are new methods by which the plasma is purified without quarantine.
- Because of the violation of personal hygiene. Do not use someone else's razors, toothbrushes, handkerchiefs.
- Through dirty instruments in the dental office.
- Women are sometimes infected during manicure, as unscrupulous craftsmen neglect to thoroughly clean the tool.
- In the salons where they make tattoos and procedures for piercing the skin.
- During sexual intercourse.
- Possible transmission of infection in utero and during childbirth.
Neither at the time of infection, nor for a long time after it, a person does not feel pain. Ailment can manifest itself only after an incubation period.
Stage of the disease
After penetration of the pathogen into the bloodstream, the gradual development of the pathological state begins.
This happens in several stages:
- After the introduction of the infection begins the incubation period. In the acute form of pathology, it lasts about 2 weeks. In some patients, incubation stretches to several months. Upon completion of the introduction of the virus there are changes in the analysis, there is an increase in the size of the spleen and liver.
- Further, HBsAg is inserted into hepatic cells of the hepatocytes and begins to actively proliferate, spreading through the bloodstream. At the same time, there are specific signs of liver inflammation and general intoxication.
- The immune system begins to produce protective antibodies aimed at eradicating the infection. Sometimes there is a recovery, immunity is able to overcome the disease itself. However, pathology often becomes chronic.
The chronic form of hepatitis B has a vague clinical picture. Ailments may be minor, however, the devastating effect of the disease remains serious.
Australian antigen in pregnant women
During pregnancy, women undergo a thorough examination. Some future mothers find HBsAg. Some women know about the diagnosis and are prepared for pregnancy. For others, the doctors' verdict is unexpected. Therefore, doctors recommend to undergo the diagnosis of the body until conception. This will avoid the negative effects of pregnancy and childbirth for both the woman and the fetus.
If the expectant mother finds HBsAg, they talk about the chronic stage of the disease or the carrier of the virus. A woman is registered not only with a gynecologist, but also with an infectious diseases specialist. He leads the pregnancy until the moment of delivery.
Probability of spontaneous abortion:
- With a mild lesion, spontaneous abortion occurs in 8% of cases.
- If the liver damage is moderate, miscarriages occur in a third of pregnant women.
- With severe hepatitis, half of the pregnancies end in miscarriage.
- In the chronic stage, spontaneous abortion occurs in 10% of pregnant women.
The formation of the fetus, the disease has no effect, children are born on time and with normal weight. During gestation, the baby may be infected by the mother. If this happens at the beginning of a pregnancy, miscarriage is likely. It happens and infection in 2 and 3 trimesters. Then most children survive, but are born sick. Infection is also possible at birth. Babies swallow mother's blood or amniotic fluid.
About 10% of babies are born with hepatitis.
Reducing the risk of contracting children, infected women are usually given a cesarean section. After birth, babies must be vaccinated.
Principles of therapy
During the acute stage of the disease, the use of special antiviral therapy is not required. The immune system begins active production of antibodies for the destruction of foreign agents. In most cases, the body can manage to cope with the task.
Chronic pathology passes in 10% of those infected. As a rule, these are people with weakened immunity.
Components of the treatment of Australian hepatitis in the acute phase:
- Proper nutrition. It is necessary to abandon alcoholic beverages, fatty meat and fish, to exclude fried, spicy, soda, sweets. You can not eat pickled and canned foods. The diet is observed to reduce the load on the liver. On the patient's table should be soups, cereals, vegetables and fruits. Portions are needed small. In order not to starve and get the necessary set of nutrients, eat 4-5 times a day.
- Normalize sleep and rest. Avoid stressful situations, do not overdo it.
- Drug therapy. It restores the function of the liver, because during the inflammatory process, the organ is damaged and its functioning is disturbed. As a result, toxic substances begin to accumulate in the body. To normalize the situation, hepatoprotectors are prescribed, and detoxification therapy is prescribed.
- Vitamin complexes. They contribute to the overall strengthening.
If for several months the concentration of HBsAg does not decrease, we can speak about the transition of the disease to the chronic form. Then antiviral treatment is prescribed.
Medicines have many side effects. Often, patients do not tolerate drugs. The reaction to them is especially bright, since the treatment of hepatitis lasts for months. Sometimes therapy takes a year or more.
Hepatitis B is a dangerous pathology that leads to cirrhosis and liver failure. Modern medicine can successfully fight the disease. The main thing is to diagnose it in time and start therapy.
The virus carrier cannot be treated with medication. A carrier of a person is considered if foreign agents remain in the blood for half a year.
In the media there are articles of the program on the problems of the spread of Australian hepatitis. Enough data gives the Internet. Additionally, educational work is carried out by medical workers, teachers. They lecture on preventive measures. Since the disease is common among young people, seminars are often held in colleges and higher education institutions.
There are basic preventive measures to prevent infection:
- use only disposable sterile syringes,
- to visit proven beauty studios, manicure rooms, tattoo parlors,
- go to those dental clinics where thorough sterilization of the instrument is carried out,
- have sex with one partner, use condoms.
Special care must be taken by medical professionals when interacting with the blood and the instruments used.
The most reliable method of protection is vaccination. Vaccination against Australian hepatitis is on the schedule. In accordance with his previous version, only medical workers and patients were indicated to be subject to mandatory vaccination. Now they are vaccinating newborn children on the first day of life.
The hepatitis B vaccine is safe and has virtually no adverse reactions.
In the production of vaccines, the virus leaves only the shell, that is, the antigen. Once in the body, it causes the immune system to produce specific antibodies. This is how protection against HBsAg is formed.
Australian antigen vaccination four times:
- in the first hours after birth,
- after 30 days,
- at 6 months
- in year.
In some families, one of the members is the carrier of Australian hepatitis. Then all households must comply with preventive measures and must be vaccinated.
Observing preventive measures, vaccinating, it is possible to avoid infection, at least to reduce its risk to a minimum.