Overt and hidden coinfection with hepatitis B and C viruses in chronic liver disease and porphyria cutanea tarda.Acta Virol. 2000 Feb; 44(1):23-8.AV
The aim of this study was to assess the rate of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection ("the coinfection") in chronic liver disease (CLD) and to reveal overt and hidden HBV infection in patients with antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV). A total of 209 untreated patients (64 with chronic hepatitis B, 79 with chronic hepatitis C and 66 with porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT)) were screened for serological markers of HBV and HCV infection in serum by third generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods and for HBV DNA and HCV RNA in serum by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The rate of the overt coinfection in chronic hepatitis B was very low (2/64, 3%). However, in chronic hepatitis C, the rate of the hidden coinfection with HBV was relatively high (19/79, 24%); these patients had higher alanine transaminase (ALT) and asparagine transaminase (AST) levels in serum and a more advanced liver disease. In PCT patients, the rates of HBV and HCV infections were the same, 21% (14/66). In the PCT patients infected with HBV or HCV, the rate of the coinfection was 33% (7/21). The PCT patients with the coinfection had a high serum ALT level and the worst histological picture in the liver. The hidden HBV infection was more frequent than the overt one. The possibility of the overt or hidden coinfection in CLD renders a detailed analysis of all serum samples for both viruses mandatory. Vaccination against HBV infection should be offered to anti-HCV-positive individuals as well as to PCT patients not showing antibodies to HBV (anti-HBV).