The Microbe: Hepatitis B Virus

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The Microbe
Hepatitis B virus belongs to a group called, Hepadnaviridae which consists of diseases that contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and affect the liver. Hepatitis B is a virus therefore; hepatitis B requires a living host to replicate viral particles. Hepatitis B consists of a nucleic acid core, a protein coat, and a lipid envelope. The hepatitis B virus contains a partially double-stranded DNA within the nucleic acid core because one of the full-length strands is linked to the viral DNA polymerase. The lipid envelope that surrounds the capsid contains glycoprotein spikes which are used to attach to receptors found on the host cell. Once the virus enters the body, it is adsorbed to the host cell via the glycoprotein spikes. The virus then penetrates into the host
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According to the Hepatitis Foundation International, “approximately 350 to 400 million people have been infected with hepatitis B worldwide” (Hepatitis Foundation International, 2014). During infection about 30% of people may experience some of the following symptoms: “fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, stomach pain, joint pain and jaundice” (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2014). Hepatitis B is a blood-borne virus; “transmission of HBV can occur when blood or body fluids from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not immune” (Hepatitis Foundation International, 2014). In microbiology laboratories, “the specimen of choice for the diagnosis of HBV infection is blood” (Krajden, M., McNabb, G., & Petric, M., 2005). The blood specimen can be used to perform serology level tests or a molecular test. The serology test screens for an increase of anti-viral hepatitis B antibodies in the blood sample likewise, the molecular test examines the blood to distinguish if the hepatitis b viral DNA is present within the

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