The response to interferon treatment in chronic hepatitis NANB/C has usually been classified as complete, partial or absent, according to the behavior of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT). However, a more detailed observation of the enzymatic activity has shown that the patterns may be more complex. The aim of this study was to describe the long term follow-up and patterns of ALT response in patients with chronic hepatitis NANB/C treated with recombinant interferon-alpha. A follow-up of 6 months or more after interferon-a was achieved in 44 patients. We have classified the serum ALT responses into six patterns and the observed frequencies were as follows: I. Long term response = 9 (20.5%); II. Normalization followed by persistent relapse after IFN = 7 (15.9%); III. Normalization with transient relapse = 5 (11.9%); IV. Temporary normalization and relapse during IFN = 4 (9.1%); V. Partial response (more than 50% of ALT decrease) = 7 (15.9%); VI. No response = 12 (27.3%). In conclusion, ALT patterns vary widely during and after IFN treatment and can be classified in at least 6 types.
Hepatitis B has proved to be a major health hazard in hemodialysis patients. In order to investigate the hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection profile in the hemodialysis population of Goiânia city - Central Brazil, all dialysis patients (N=282) were studied. The prevalence of any HBV marker (HBsAg, anti-HBs, and anti-HBc) was 56.7% (95% CI: 51.1-62.7), ranging from 33.3% to 77.7% depending on dialysis unit. HBV-DNA was detected in 67.6% and 88.2% of the HBsAg-positive serum samples, in 91.3% and 100% of the HBsAg/HBeAg-positive samples, and in 18.2% and 63.6% of the HBsAg/anti-HBe-reactive sera by hybridization and PCR, respectively. The length of time on hemodialysis was significantly associated with HBV seropositivity. Only 10% of the patients reported received hepatitis B vaccination. The findings of a high HBV infection prevalence in this population and the increased risk for HBV infection on long-term hemodialysis suggest the environmental transmission, emphasizing the urgent need to evaluate strategies of control and prevention followed in these units.
Screening blood donations for anti-HCV antibodies and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) serum levels generally prevents the transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by transfusion. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficiency of the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) screening policy in identifying potentially infectious blood donors capable to transmit hepatitis C through blood transfusion. We have used a reverse transcriptase (RT)-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to investigate the presence of HCV-RNA in blood donors. The prevalence of HCV-RNA positive individuals was compared with the recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA-2) results in order to assess the usefulness of both tests as confirmatory assays. Both tests results were also compared with the EIA-2 OD/C ratio (optical densities of the samples divided by the cut off value). ALT results were expressed as the ALT quotient (qALT), calculated dividing the ALT value of the samples by the maximum normal value (53UI/l) for the method. Donors (n=178) were divided into five groups according to their EIA anti-HCV status and qALT: group A (EIA > or = 3, ALT<1), group B (EIA > or = 3, ALT>1), group C (1<=EIA<3, ALT<1), group D (1<=EIA<3, ALT>1) and group E (EIA<=0.7). HCV sequences were detected by RT-nested PCR...
PURPOSE: To evaluate the frequency and the consequences of the co-infection of hepatitis B and C viruses in patients with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis (HSS). METHODS: B and C serologic markers, exposure to risk factors, biochemical assays, upper gastrointestinal endoscopies, and abdominal ultrasonograms were evaluated in 101 patients with HSS from 1994 to 1997. Whenever possible, PCR was tested and histopathological studies were reviewed. RESULTS: At least one HBV virus marker was found in 15.8%, and anti-HCV was detected in 12.9% of the subjects. The seropositive subjects tended to be older than the seronegative ones. A history of blood transfusion was significantly related to the presence of anti-HCV. Three (18.75%) out of 16 subjects exposed to B virus were HBsAg positive. Eleven (84.6%) out of thirteen patients who were anti-HCV positive demonstrated viral activity. Patients with ongoing viral infection presented a higher average level of liver aminotransferases, a higher frequency of cell decompensation and a higher rate of chronic hepatitis. Portal hypertension parameters were not influenced by viral exposure. CONCLUSIONS: The rate of hepatitis B and C viruses serologic markers observed in the patients with HSS was higher than the control group. The co-infection was responsible for a higher frequency of cell decompensation.
BACKGROUND: Use of polyclonal anti-hepatitis B surface antigen immunoglobulin (HBIg) has been shown to reduce hepatitis B virus (HBV) recurrence after liver transplantation (LT) and to decrease the frequency of acute cellular rejection (ACR). However, the protective role of HBIg against ACR remains controversial, since HBV infection has been also associated with a lower incidence of ACR. AIM: To assess the relationship between HBIg immunoprophylaxis and the incidence of rejection after LT. METHODS: 260 patients (158 males, 43 ± 14 years old) submitted to LT were retrospectively evaluated and divided into three groups, according to the presence of HBsAg and the use of HBIg. Group I was comprised of HBsAg-positive patients (n = 12) that received HBIg for more than 6 months. Group II was comprised of HBsAg-positive patients that historically have not received HBIg or have been treated irregularly for less than 3 months (n = 10). Group III was composed of 238 HBsAg-negative subjects that have not received HBIg. RESULTS: HBIg-treated patients (group I) had significantly less ACR episodes, when compared to group II and III. No differences between groups II and III were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term HBIg administration contributes independently to reduce the number of ACR episodes after LT.
The analysis of 58 patients with chronic hepatitis C without cirrhosis and treated with interferon-alpha demonstrated that hepatitis C viral (HCV) load does not correlate with the histological evolution of the disease (p = 0.6559 for architectural alterations and p = 0.6271 for the histological activity index). Therefore, the use of viral RNA quantification as an evolutive predictor or determinant of the severity of hepatitis C is incorrect and of relative value. A review of the literature provided fundamental and interdependent HCV (genotype, heterogeneity and mutants, specific proteins), host (sex, age, weight, etc) and treatment variables (dosage, time of treatment, type of interferon) within the broader context of viral kinetics, interferon-mediated immunological response (in addition to natural immunity against HCV) and the role of interferon as a modulator of fibrogenesis. Therefore, viral load implies much more than numbers and the correct interpretation of these data should consider a broader context depending on multiple factors that are more complex than the simple value obtained upon quantification.
A thirty three year-old, male patient was admitted at the Hospital of the São Paulo University School of Medicine, at the city of São Paulo, Brazil, with complaint of pains, tingling and decreased sensibility in the right hand for the last four months. This had progressed to the left hand, left foot and right foot, in addition to a difficulty of flexing and stretching in the left foot. Tests were positive for HBeAg, IgM anti-HBc and HBsAg, thus characterizing the condition of acute hepatitis B. The ALT serum level was 15 times above the upper normal limit. Blood glucose, cerebral spinal fluid, antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and anti-HIV and anti-HCV serum tests were either normal or negative. Electroneuromyography disclosed severe peripheral neuropathy with an axon prevalence and signs of denervation; nerve biopsy disclosed intense vasculitis. The diagnosis of multiple confluent mononeuropathy associated to acute hepatitis B was done. This association is not often reported in international literature and its probable cause is the direct action of the hepatitis B virus on the nerves or a vasculitis of the vasa nervorum brought about by deposits of immune complexes.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection constitutes a major public health problem in Brazil. The transmission of HAV is primarily by fecal-oral route so the water is an important vehicle of HAV dissemination. There is a great incidence of acute cases of hepatitis A in some areas of Brazil however the seasonal variation of these cases was not documented. The aim of this study was to determine the seasonality of HAV infection in Rio de Janeiro. From January 1999 to December 2001, 1731 blood samples were collected at the National Reference Center for Hepatitis Viruses in Brazil (NRCHV). These samples were tested by a commercial enzyme-immunoassay to detect anti-HAV IgM antibodies. Yearly positive rates were 33.74% in 1999, 32.19% in 2000, and 30.63% in 2001. A seasonal variation was recognized with the highest incidence in spring and summer. Furthermore a seasonal increase in incidence of HAV infection was found during the rainy season (December to March) because the index of rains is very high. It is concluded that HAV infections occur all year round with a peak during hot seasons with great number of rains.
The presence of serological markers for hepatitis B virus (HBsAg, anti-HBc IgM and Anti-HBc total) was investigated in the serum of 1,396 individuals who had clinical suspect of hepatitis. It was observed that 50.7% of the individuals were positive and, from the total of the studied individuals, 14.5% were positive for HBsAg. From these, 8.5% were also positive for anti-HBc IgM. The analysis in relation to gender showed a higher seroprevalence index among male individuals (p < 0.0001). It was observed the occurrence of subtypes adw2 (62.7%), ayw3 (23.5%), ayw2 (9.8%) and adw4 (3.9%). The viral DNA was detected in 61 (33.9%) HBsAg positive samples and in one sample positive only for anti-HBc total. These results indicate an important incidence of the HBV infection in this population, and reinforce previous studies regarding this virus in the central west region of Brazil.
Serological, epidemiological and molecular aspects of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were evaluated in 183 subjects from Londrina, Paraná, Brazil, and adjacent areas. Serum samples which tested anti-HCV positive by microparticle enzyme immunoassay (MEIA) obtained from eight patients with chronic hepatitis C, 48 blood donors, and 127 patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were submitted to another enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) and to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). About 78.7% of samples were also reactive by ELISA, with the greater proportion (70.8%) of discordant results verified among blood donors. A similar finding was observed for HCV-RNA detection by PCR, with 111/165 (67.3%) positive samples, with higher rates among HIV-positive subjects and patients with chronic hepatitis than among blood donors. Sixty-one PCR-positive samples were submitted to HCV genotyping, with 77.1, 21.3 and 1.6% of the samples identified as types 1, 3 and 2, respectively. Finally, analysis of some risk factors associated with HCV infection showed that intravenous drug use was the most common risk factor among HIV/HCV co-infected patients, while blood transfusion was the most important risk factor in the group without HIV infection. The present study contributed to the knowledge regarding risk factors associated with HCV infection and the distribution of HCV genotypes in the population evaluated.
A cross-sectional study was carried out among 996 volunteer blood donors enrolled from May 1999 to December 1999 to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection among volunteer blood donors of the Regional Blood Bank of Londrina, State of Paraná, Brazil, and to evaluate whether the rate of seroprevalence of IgG anti-HEV antibodies is associated with sociodemographic variables and with seropositivity for hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection. All participants answered the questionnaire regarding the sociodemographic characterisitcs. Serum samples were tested for IgG antibodies to HEV (anti-HEV) by an enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA). All serum samples positive for anti-HEV IgG and 237 serum samples negative for anti-HEV were also assayed for IgG anti-HAV antibodies by ELISA. Anti-HEV IgG was confirmed in 23/996 samples, resulting in a seroprevalence of 2.3% for HEV infection, similar to previous results obtained in developed countries. No significant association was found between the presence of anti-HEV IgG antibodies and the sociodemographic variables including gender, age, educational level, rural or urban areas, source of water, and sewer system (p > 0.05). Also, no association with seropositivity for anti-HAV IgG antibodies was observed (p > 0.05). Although this study revealed a low seroprevalence of HEV infection in the population evaluated...
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections account for a substantial proportion of liver diseases worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV serological markers among children and adolescents and verify the epidemiology of the HBV infection over than a decade of the introduction of vaccination program. Serologic markers to HBsAg, total anti-HBc and anti-HCV had been tested in 393 samples. The seropositivity for HBsAg was 0.76% and for total anti-HBc was 1.02%. Copositivity between HBsAg and total anti-HBc was verified in 0.76% of the analyzed samples. There was no seropositivity for anti-HCV marker. The seroprevalence of HBV infection markers among children and adolescents in the southern Brazilian region is high compared to that reported in other countries. Preventive measures, such as educational activities in addition to the universal childhood HBV vaccination, should be initiated in order to reduce the morbimortality and the economic burden associated with the disease.