[Basic and clinical aspects of hepatitis virus carriers]

Hokkaido Igaku Zasshi. 1996 Jul;71(4):427-48.
[Article in Japanese]


Among the six species of hepatitis viruses, HBV (hepatitis B virus) and HCV (hepatitis C virus) can induce persistent infection. HBV and HCV are transmitted parenterally, of which maternal transmission and transfusion-associated infection is a major route respectively. We opened the special clinic for carriers detected through blood donation, and followed them at regular intervals for their health care. The prevalence rate of HBV carriers decreased from 3.0% to 1.2% in these 10 years, and that of HCV decreased from 0.9 to 0.4% in these 4 years. Prevalence rate of HBV peaks at 50s and that of HCV peaks at 60s. Due to nearly complete screening of donated blood, post-transfusion hepatitis almost disappeared. HBV vaccine for neonates born from infected mothers reduced the new incidence of HBV carriers. In HBV carriers seroconversion of HBeAg to HBeAb occurs at teens with transient hepatitis and appearance of mutant virus. Ninety percent of the carriers remains healthy for the lifetime but some of them aggravate into chronic hepatitis leading to HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma). In HCV acute infection at adult age succeeds to chronic infection and eventually to liver cirrhosis with sporadic appearance of HCC. On the other hand, less than 50% of HCV carriers seem to be asymptomatic and do not lead to grave disease. In HBV carriers tendency to reject the virus occurs and eventually HBV is cleared in some percentage of the population. In contrast HCV does not tend to be cleared. HBsAb is a defensive antibody. In contrast HCVAb is not a defensive antibody but an infective antibody like HBcAb. DNA polymerase is a good marker of disease state in HBV, and HCV RNA is a good marker of HCV proliferation. Treatment with IFN is sometimes effective for seroconversion in HBV, and for eradication of virus in HCV.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Carrier State* / epidemiology
  • Carrier State* / transmission
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / analysis
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis B* / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B* / transmission
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • Hepatitis C* / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C* / transmission
  • Humans
  • Interferons / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • RNA
  • Interferons
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase