Lack of occult hepatitis B virus infection among blood donors with isolated hepatitis B core antibody living in an HBV low prevalence region of Iran

Int J Infect Dis. 2010 Apr;14(4):e308-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2009.05.011. Epub 2009 Aug 4.


Background: Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in blood donors is considered a potential threat for the safety of the blood supply, however conclusive studies on this issue are lacking. The aim of this study was to assess the occult HBV infection in blood donors with isolated hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) living in the city of Arak, in the Central Province of Iran, as a low prevalence region for HBV.

Methods: A total of 531 voluntary blood donors in Arak, Iran were included in this study. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs), anti-HBc, and hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) were tested in all subjects. The presence of HBV-DNA was determined quantitatively in plasma samples of cases with isolated anti-HBc (HBsAg-negative, anti-HBs-negative, and anti-HBc-positive) by real-time PCR using the artus HBV RG PCR kit on the Rotor-Gene 3000 real-time thermal cycler.

Results: Of 531 subjects enrolled in this study, 11 (2.1%, 95% confidence interval 0.8-3.2%) had isolated anti-HBc. HBV-DNA was not detected in any of the cases with isolated anti-HBc.

Conclusions: Our study showed that all the blood donors with isolated anti-HBc were negative for HBV-DNA, and occult HBV infection did not occur in the blood donors of this low prevalence region for HBV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Donors*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / blood*
  • Hepatitis B / transmission
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens / blood*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult


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