Acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was diagnosed in 57 adults admitted to Toranomon Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Genotypes of HBV were determined by a serological method and compared to those in 1,077 patients with chronic hepatitis B. The distribution of genotypes were: genotype A (acute, 22.8% vs. chronic, 1.9%; P < 0.00001); B (14.0% vs. 9.4%); C (43.9% vs. 87.7%, P = 0.004); D (1.8% vs. 0.2%); F (1.8% vs. 0.2%); and unable to be typed (15.8% vs. 0.6%, P = 0.001). The infection persisted in seven (12%) of them. They included six (86%) of the seven patients who received prednisolone or glycyrrhizin during an acute phase of illness and one of the 41 (2%) who did not (P = 0.01). Interferon was given to the seven patients with acute prolonged HBV infection, and four of them responded by clearing hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and surface antigen (HBsAg) from serum. Of the four responders, one was infected with HBV genotype B and three with genotype C. HBsAg persisted in the remaining three patients all of whom were infected with HBV genotype A, and HBeAg stayed positive in one of them. These results indicate that HBV genotype A prevails in Japanese patients with acute hepatitis B, and suggest a high efficacy of interferon in the adult patients with acute prolonged HBV infection, except in those infected with HBV genotype A. J. Med. Virol. 68:522–528, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.