Sexual transmission of hepatitis B infection despite the presence of hepatitis B virus immunity in recipients of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

J Clin Virol. 2005 Feb;32(2):173-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2004.08.003.


Background: After hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), hepatitis due to hepatitis B virus (HBV) rarely occurred beyond the initial 12 months after transplantation.

Objectives: We investigated the cause of "late" hepatitis due to HBV infection in two recipients after allogeneic HCT.

Study design: Two male patients with acute myeloid leukemia and light chain myeloma, respectively, developed HBV-related hepatitis more than 2 years after HCT. All serum samples collected from the recipients, donors and their respective spouses were tested for HBV DNA by nested PCR, and if positive further quantified by Digene Hybrid Capture assay II. The HBV genotype was determined by PCR and sequencing.

Results: Genotypic analysis suggested that the cause of "late" hepatitis was due to acute HBV infection transmitted from their respective spouse.

Conclusion: Our findings suggested that sexual precautions should be taken in these patients after HCT. Alternatively, or even additionally, active vaccination should be delivered to these patients once they have lost their HBV immunity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Hepatitis B / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B / transmission*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B virus / classification
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology
  • Heterosexuality
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / immunology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / transmission*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / virology
  • Transplantation, Homologous / adverse effects*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens