Occult Hepatitis B virus infection occurs in serum Hepatitis B surface antigen-negative patients with detectable Hepatitis B virus viraemia in serum.
The epidemiology and clinical significance of occult Hepatitis B virus infection remains controversial with only limited information about its prevalence in patients on long-term dialysis.
Dr Fabrizi and colleagues addressed the epidemiology of occult Hepatitis B infection in a large cohort of dialysis patients.
| Occult Hepatitis B virus was absent in this study group of 213 patients|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The researchers screened a large cohort of 585 Italian chronic dialysis patients.
The research team tested from this population, 213 Hepatitis B virus surface antigen seronegative patients.
The team used Amplicor Hepatitis B virus Monitor Test to detect Hepatitis B virus viraemia, or virus-DNA, in serum.
The researchers found that occult Hepatitis B virus infection was absent in all patients.
Persistent Hepatitis B virus surface antigen carriage was less frequent than anti-Hepatitis B virus core antibody seropositive status in this study group.
The team observed that no dialysis patients seropositive for anti-Hepatitis B core antibody in serum had detectable Hepatitis B virus-DNA by polymerase chain reaction technology.
The researchers noted no significant association between abnormal biochemical liver tests and serum anti-Hepatitis B core antibody.
Nominal logistic regression analysis demonstrated an independent and significant relationship between anti-Hepatitis C antibody and anti-Hepatitis B virus core antibody in serum.
In addition, the research team found that the rate of seropositive patients for anti-Hepatitis B virus core antibody was higher among study patients than controls with normal renal function.
The difference between study patients and controls partially persisted after correction for demographic parameters, and viral markers.
Dr Fabrizi concludes, “Occult hepatitis B virus was absent in our study group.”
“Anti-Hepatitis B core antibody was significantly related to presence of anti-Hepatitis C antibody supporting shared modes of transmission.”
“Clinical studies based on molecular biology techniques provided with higher sensitivity are planned.”