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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.

Clinical Description

An illness with a) discrete onset of symptoms and b) jaundice or elevated serum aminotransferase (ALT) levels

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

  • Hepatitis A: Immunoglobulin M antibody to hepatitis A virus (IgM anti-HAV) positive
  • Hepatitis B: IgM antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (IgM anti-HBc) positive (if done) or hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive, and IgM to hepatitis A virus (IgM anti-HAV) negative (if done)
  • Non-A, Non-B Hepatitis:
    • IgM anti-HAV-negative, AND
    • IgM anti-HBc-negative (if done) or HBsAg-negative, AND
    • Serum ALT levels greater than 2½ times the upper limit of normal
  • Delta Hepatitis: HBsAg- or IgM anti-HBc-positive and antibody to hepatitis D virus (anti-HDV) positive

Case Classification


A case that meets the clinical case definition and is laboratory confirmed


A serologic test for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody to the recently described hepatitis C virus is available, and many cases of non-A, non-B hepatitis may be demonstrated to be due to infection with the hepatitis C virus. With this assay, however, a prolonged interval between onset of disease and detection of antibody may occur. Until a more specific test for acute hepatitis C becomes available, these cases should be reported as non-A, non-B hepatitis. Chronic carriage or chronic hepatitis should not be reported.

Related Case Definition(s)