Send to

Choose Destination
J Hosp Infect. 2006 Dec;64(4):352-7. Epub 2006 Oct 12.

High levels of hepatitis B virus DNA in body fluids from chronic carriers.

Author information

Department of Infectious Diseases, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major global health problem. Transmission is mainly blood-borne, although the route of infection during horizontal transmission in childhood is unclear. Nosocomial outbreaks of HBV have been widely reported, but have mainly focused on blood-borne transmission. There is limited knowledge of the viral load levels in other body fluids. In the present study, chronic HBV carriers were tested for the presence of HBV DNA in serum, saliva, nasopharyngeal fluid, urine and tears by means of qualitative and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. Twenty-five patients who were positive for HBV DNA with both PCRs were included. Low titres in real-time PCR corresponded with weak bands in the qualitative assay. HBV DNA was found in two urine samples, 10 saliva samples, five nasopharyngeal swabs and in tear fluid from four patients. One highly viraemic HBeAg-positive carrier with serum HBV DNA levels of 7 x 10(9) genome copies had high copy numbers detected in both saliva and nasopharyngeal fluid. These results demonstrate that highly viraemic HBV carriers may have high titres of HBV DNA in other body fluids. This has particular importance for infection control programmes and regulations, underlining the importance of aiming towards regular HBV DNA testing and thus infectivity assessment of chronic carriers in order to prevent transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center