Booster immunity – diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B viral infection
Introduction: Diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection particularly its occult form requires monitoring and repeat serological and molecular studies. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible relation between the case of a family outbreak of hepatitis A and the finding that a member of this family was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B.
Methodology: A mother and her two sons, one previously diagnosed with chronic HBV infection, were hospitalized due to suspected acute hepatitis. Serological markers for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C were assessed. Additionally, HBV DNA was tested with a sensitive PCR. Hepatitis B vaccine was administered to the mother to differentiate resolved from occult HBV infection.
Results: A family outbreak of hepatitis A was confirmed, alongside a focus of chronic HBV infection. The serological profile for two brothers was HBsAg(+), anti-HBcIgM(-), anti-HBc(+), HBcAg(-)/anti-HBe(+). The mother was negative for all HBV markers except anti-HBc. HBV DNA was detected at a level of 461 IU/mL in the elder brother, 3647 IU/mL in the younger brother and was negative in the mother on two occasions. Her anti-HBc alone, having two sons with chronic HBV infection, and her lack of antibody response to hepatitis B vaccine despite being negative for HBV DNA, led to the diagnosis of probable occult HBV infection.
Conclusion: Our results confirmed that a vaccination approach could facilitate diagnosis of chronic HBV infection in the presence of isolated anti-HBc. If it were not for a family outbreak of hepatitis A, this unexpected family HBV focus would not have been revealed.
Copyright (c) 2019 Radka Todorova Komitova, Ani Kevorkyan, Maria Atanasova, Aneta Ivanova, Elica Golkocheva
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).