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Persistent occult hepatitis B virus infection: experimental findings and clinical implications.

Authors
  • Mulrooney-Cousins, Patricia M
  • Michalak, Tomasz I
Type
Published Article
Journal
World Journal of Gastroenterology
Publisher
Baishideng Publishing Group Co
Publication Date
Nov 21, 2007
Volume
13
Issue
43
Pages
5682–5686
Identifiers
PMID: 17963292
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a highly pathogenic virus that causes chronic liver diseases in millions of people globally. In addition to a symptomatic, serologically evident infection, occult persistent HBV carriage has been identified since nucleic acid amplification assays of enhanced sensitivity became introduced for detection of hepadnaviral genomes and their replicative intermediates. Current evidence indicates that occult HBV infection is a common and long-term consequence of resolution of acute hepatitis B. This form of residual infection is termed as secondary occult infection (SOI). The data from the woodchuck model of HBV infection indicate that exposure to small amounts of hepadnavirus can also cause primary occult infection (POI) where virus genome, but no serological makers of exposure to virus, are detectable, and the liver may not be involved. However, virus replicates at low levels in the lymphatic system in both these forms. We briefly summarize the current understanding of the nature and characteristics of occult hepadnaviral persistence as well as of its documented and expected pathological consequences.

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