Hepatitis B

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Testing for hepatitis B in an acute viral hepatitis panel involves tests that detect hepatitis B surface antigens and IgM hepatitis B core antibodies. Hepatitis B surface antigens are detectable within 1 to 10 weeks after exposure, before symptoms develop, and remain detectable for up to 4 to 6 months in patients who recover from acute infection. After the disappearance of hepatitis B surface antigens, IgM hepatitis B core antibodies are detectable for up to two years after an acute infection and during flare-ups of chronic hepatitis B. If chronic hepatitis B is suspected, follow-up testing may be necessary.