Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Print version ISSN 1413-8670
ALMEIDA, Delvone et al. Occult B infection in the Brazilian northeastern region: a preliminary report. Braz J Infect Dis [online]. 2008, vol.12, n.4, pp. 310-312. ISSN 1413-8670. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-86702008000400010.
A sentinel study on viral hepatitis is currently being carried out in the village of Cavunge in a semiarid rural region of the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. This study has identified individuals in whom anti-HBc IgG was the only serological marker for hepatitis B virus (HBV). This serological pattern may constitute evidence of occult HBV infection. This study Investigated the possibility of occult hepatitis B virus infection in individuals in a rural community who tested positive for anti-HBc IgG alone. A cross-sectional population-based study. ELISA III was performed on serum samples to test for serological viral markers, and ultrasensitive PCR (US-PCR) was used to assess viremia. Among the 1,536 serum samples, 3.6% (n=55) were positive for anti-HBc alone. Four years after this first serological survey, 31 of those 55 individuals (56.3%) were retested, and 11 (35.5%) remained anti-HBc positive alone. Two of these 31 (6.5%) were HBV-DNA positive based on US-PCR, with normal aminotransferase levels in both cases. Cases of occult hepatitis B infection were identified in this semiarid rural community of northeastern Brazil, where endemicity of HBV is moderate.
Keywords : Anti-HBc alone; hepatitis B virus; occult hepatitis B; ultrasensitive PCR.