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NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.

CSTE Position Statement(s)

  • 11-ID-03

Clinical Description

An acute illness with a discrete onset of any sign or symptom* consistent with acute viral hepatitis (e.g., fever, headache, malaise, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain), and either a) jaundice, or b) elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels >100 IU/L.

*A documented negative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) laboratory test result within 6 months prior to a positive test (either HBsAg, hepatitis B "e" antigen (HBeAg), or hepatitis B virus nucleic acid testing (HBV NAT) including genotype) result does not require an acute clinical presentation to meet the surveillance case definition.

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

  • HBsAg positive, AND
  • Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (IgM anti-HBc) positive (if done)

Case Classification


A case that meets the clinical case definition, is laboratory confirmed, and is not known to have chronic hepatitis B.

Related Case Definition(s)