Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical
Print version ISSN 0037-8682
BARROS JUNIOR, Gildo Maia et al. Occult hepatitis B: prevalence and clinical characteristics in a population with high endemicity of hepatitis B infection in the western Brazilian Amazon region. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. [online]. 2008, vol.41, n.6, pp. 596-601. ISSN 0037-8682. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0037-86822008000600010.
A persistent form of the hepatitis B virus called occult chronic hepatitis B has recently been described. Its prevalence and physiopathology are unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of this clinical entity among patients in the Brazilian Amazon region. Out of 51 anti-HBc total-positive patients who were tested using the polymerase chain reaction, 17% were positive. We did not find any associations with classical risk factors for hepatitis B virus infection or with biochemical tests, hematological tests or histological patterns. However, the jaundiced and HIV-positive patients showed a statistical association with the presence of hepatitis B virus-DNA. The results demonstrated that occult hepatitis B occurred among our patients, but at prevalence rates lower than expected for this region. We believe that despite the small sample size, the occurrence might have been found to be greater if we had used primers for the S, C and X regions of the hepatitis B virus genome, thereby increasing the sensitivity of the test.
Keywords : Occult hepatitis B; Hepatitis B virus-DNA; Chronic hepatitis; Brazilian Amazon region.