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Can Commun Dis Rep. 2017 Nov 2;43(11):245-246. eCollection 2017 Nov 2.

Hepatitis A virus infection associated with cannabis use.

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Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
Provincial Laboratory for Public Health, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB.
National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB.
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.


We identified a case of acute Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection linked to cannabis use. The local Public Health department received report of a man in his mid-20s with a classic presentation of hepatitis - jaundice, abdominal pain, vomiting, general malaise, and dark urine - as well as elevated serum aminotransferase levels and a positive anti-HAV IgM. Upon questioning, he reported no contact with ill individuals, or travel outside his metropolitan area. His exclusive source of water was the local municipal supply. He reported consuming mainly pre-packaged lower risk foods from large chain-style supermarket stores and eating at several local restaurants. While administering the questionnaire, the investigator identified that the patient smoked cannabis. Upon request, the patient agreed to provide a sample of cannabis for testing purposes. A viral elution of fresh cannabis leaves was completed. The sequences derived from the patient's serum sample and the eluate from the cannabis leaves were identical, but did not match any other HAV sub-genotype 1B sequences from Canadian isolates within the National Microbiology Laboratory database. Hepatitis A virus can survive >60 days when dried and kept at room temperature and low humidity; HAV can remain infectious in water at room temperature for 300 days. It cannot be concluded with certainty that the cannabis was the source of the hepatitis A; however, as other sources were excluded, or were of lesser probability, the association of cannabis with his disease acquisition remains strong.


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