Prevalence of occult hepatitis B virus infection among patients receiving haemodialysis in Sana'a city

IJID Reg. 2022 Sep 20:5:141-145. doi: 10.1016/j.ijregi.2022.09.004. eCollection 2022 Dec.


Background: Occult hepatitis B virus infection (OBI) is a challenging entity. Due to the increase in invasive procedures, blood transfusions, and difficulties in diagnosing OBI, patients are more likely to acquire OBI. This cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the prevalence of OBI by hepatitis B virus (HBV)-DNA detection, the prevalence of HBV infection by total hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb) detection, and the potential risk factors for HBV infection in patients receiving haemodialysis regularly.

Methods: This study included 80 patients receiving haemodialysis regularly, without acute or chronic HBV infection. They were selected from the dialysis units in Sana'a city, Yemen from June 2016 to June 2017. Patients who were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis B surface antibody were excluded from this study. Blood samples were taken prior to each haemodialysis session, and serological markers of HBV were included. HBcAb was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and HBV-DNA was measured by polymerase chain reaction.

Results: HBV-DNA was detected in four patients (5%) and HBcAb was detected in 38 patients (47.5%). There was a significant association between HBV-DNA and HBcAb in patients receiving haemodialysis regularly.

Conclusions: Patients who test positive for HBcAb should undergo additional HBV-DNA testing to allow accurate HBV screening and prevent infection of other patients.

Keywords: Conventional PCR; HBV; Haemodialysis patients; Occult hepatitis B virus; Sana'a city.