Hepatitis G virus (GBV-C) infection among Brazilian patients with chronic liver disease and blood donors.
Lampe E. de Oliveira JM. Pereira JL. Saback FL. Yoshida CF. Niel C.
Department of Virology, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
BACKGROUND: The recently discovered hepatitis G virus (HGV) belongs, as hepatitis C virus (HCV), to the Flaviviridae family. HGV has been isolated from the serum of patients with non A-E hepatitis. However, the association of HGV with hepatitis is uncertain. OBJECTIVE: To determine the HGV prevalence in blood donors and in patients with liver disease and to evaluate a possible correlation between HGV infection and liver disease. STUDY DESIGN: Sera from a total of 113 consecutive patients with chronic liver disease were submitted to a series of liver enzymes and function tests and analyzed for the presence of HBsAg, anti-HBs, anti-HBc, anti-HCV, HCV RNA and HGV RNA. Prevalence of HGV RNA was determined in a group of 87 blood donors. RESULTS: Nine (10%) sera from blood donors and 15 (13%) sera from patients with chronic liver disease were HGV RNA positive. Some 28 (25%) patients were HCV RNA positive, with genotypes 1a, 1b and 3 present in 10, 12 and 5 patients, respectively. A total of 20 (18%) patients were HBsAg carriers. Five (4%) patients were double infected (one with HBV + HCV, one with HBV + HGV and three with HCV + HGV). CONCLUSION: The proportion (10%) of HGV-infected blood donors was very high when compared with other countries. The results did not allow to establish HGV as an etiologic agent for chronic liver disease. The parenteral route was the presumed means of HGV transmission for only one-third of the patients.
Prevalence of infection with HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses, in four high risk groups in Eritrea.
Ghebrekidan H. Cox S. Wahren B. Grandien M.
Department of Virology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the prevalence of infections in different population groups in Africa, and about the influence of living conditions on the spread of infections. This study is the first of its kind in the state of Eritrea and is expected to serve as an evaluation of the situation in the country. OBJECTIVE: A serosurvey for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) was carried out during the summer of 1995 in Massawa, a small sea port in Eritrea (East Africa) in four groups considered to be at risk for these infections. STUDY DESIGN: The study subjects were former Guerrilla Fighters, Female Sex Workers, Truck Drivers, and Port Workers. Participants from a tribe called Rashaida were believed to be at low risk, and thus served as a control. RESULTS: The Female Sex Workers had the highest incidence of HIV-1 infection, 29%, compared to 10% for Port Workers, and 3% for Guerrilla Fighters. On the other hand presence of HBsAg, indicating a high prevalence of hepatitis B carrier status, was highest in the Guerrilla Fighters, followed by the Rashaidas, and lowest in the Female Sex Workers. The Female Sex Workers were further tested for antibodies against HBV and the results revealed that 53% of them, 5%, had antibodies against HBcoreAg. Excluding the possibility of an acute infection at sampling time, three of them became HBsAg carriers. Surprisingly, our group of Truck Drivers did not show HIV-1 infection, and no HIV-2 infections were seen in the whole cohort. CONCLUSION: The study shows that the described groups have different prevalences of infection with HIV, hepatitis B and C which can partly be explained by their living conditions.
Evaluation of a new assay for HBV DNA quantitation in patients with chronic hepatitis B.
Kessler HH. Pierer K. Dragon E. Lackner H. Santner B. Stunzner D. Stelzl E. Waitzl B. Marth E.
Institute of Hygiene, KF-University Graz, Austria. firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND: The Amplicor HBV Monitor Test for quantitative determination of serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA has recently been introduced. This assay is based on PCR and a non-radioactive hybridization and detection system on microwell plates. OBJECTIVE: The performance of the Amplicor HBV Monitor Test was evaluated in a routine diagnostic laboratory. The Amplicor HBV Monoitor assay was compared to the Digene Hybrid Capture System HBV DNA assay for the quantitation of HBV in patient sera. STUDY DESIGN: Sensitivity and reproducibility were determined with 10-fold dilution series of two Eurohep HBV reference plasma specimens. Furthermore, 196 sera from 14 children with chronic HBV infection and interferon therapy were tested with both assays. RESULTS: The detection limit was found to be 10(3) copies/ml with the Amplicor PCR assay compared to 10(6) to 10(7) copies/ml with the Digene hybridization assay. Both assays were quasi-linear over the measurable ranges. The new PCR assay proved to be very reliable. With the Amplicor PCR assay, 26.2% of the HBV DNA-positive clinical samples were found between 10(3) and 10(7) copies/ml and all of them tested below the detection limit with the hybridization assay. CONCLUSION: The Amplicor HBV Monitor Test shows excellent sensitivity and provides a valuable tool for the detection of HBV DNA in serum. It can be used for recognizing those patients who might benefit from antiviral therapy, for evaluation of the efficacy of anti-HBV therapy, and for validation of blood products.