Hepatitis B: Picture courtesy of

www.research.amnh.org/exhibitions/ epidemic/hepb.html


Hepadnaviridae (Hepa = liver; dna = deoxyribonucleic acid) includes one virus that is pathogenic to man: Hepatitis B virus (HBV).  As their names imply, all of the known hepadnaviruses are hepatotropic, infecting liver cells, and all can cause hepatitis in their known host. Hepatitis is the a syndrome characterized by inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by hepatitis viruses (not necessarily in the Hepadnavirus family), other viruses, amebas, and non-infectious agents such as alcohol and acetaminophen. 


The hepadnaviurses include three viruses of mammals and two viruses of birds.  The mammalian viruses are closely related. For instance, Hepatitis B and Woodchuck Hepatitis Virus are 60% genetically identical. All have a very narrow host range.


Members of the Hepadna family include:


Genus Orthohepadnavirus

Virus Member Natural Host Transmission Disease
Hepatitis B (HBV) Humans, chimps, gibbons, wooly monkeys IDU, sexual, blood, vertical ACS, hepatitis, cirrhosis, HCC
Ground Squirrel Hepatitis B Ground squirrels, woodchucks, chipmunks Sexual, blood ACS, hepatitis, HCC
Woodchuck Hepatitis B Woodchucks Sexual, blood ACS, hepatitis, HCC


 Genus Avihepadnavirus

Virus Member Natural Host Transmission Disease
Duck Hepatitis B Ducks, Geese Predominantly vertical ACS, hepatitis
Heron Hepatitis B Herons Predominantly vertical ACS, hepatitis

Abbreviations: ACS: Asymptomatic Carrier State; HCC: Hepatocellular Carcinoma; IDU: Injecting Drug User


History of Hepatitis B (obtained from 1999 T. Chang's viral web page)


Other hepatitis viruses that are not associated with the Hepadnavirus family include:






Previous Hepadnaviridae Web Pages

1998 M.Dayal, J.Maldonado 1999 T. Chang 2000 P.Kwon, J.Lee 2002 J.Churchill

This webpage was constructed by Alison Silvis and Susanna Tan  for HumBio115a: Humans and Viruses course taught by Dr. Robert D. Siegel at Stanford University.