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Epidemiological study of chronic hepatitis in relation to hepatitis b virus infections

, : Epidemiological study of chronic hepatitis in relation to hepatitis b virus infections. Annali Sclavo 19(5): 925-934

To evaluate the role of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the etiology of chronic liver diseases, paired sera of 143 patients with biopsy-documented chronic hepatitis were tested for HBsAg [hepatitis B surface antigen] and anti-HBs [antibody to HBsAg] by radioimmunoassay. HBsAg was detected in 67.3% of patients with a preceding verified episode of acute hepatitis, and in 26.7% of patients with a cryptogenic form of chronic hepatitis. HBsAg was not found in any patients with alcoholic chronic hepatitis and in only 2 of 18 patients with other forms of chronic liver disease. No significant difference in the incidence of anti-HBs was observed in all groups of patients. The results confirm the higher prevalence of HBV infection in the etiology of chronic persistent and aggressive hepatitis and indicate that this prevalence may be observed especially in middle and south Italy. The presence of HBsAg in the serum of 37.2% of patients with cirrhosis compared with 9% of reported cases in North Italy suggests that HBV plays an important role in the etiology of cirrhosis of the liver in middle and south Italy.

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