In an effort to determine the cause of non-A-E hepatitis, a retrospective study was undertaken on a group of patients with hepatitis but without serological infection markers of hepatitis viruses A-E. A total of 60 patients admitted to Beijing Ditan Hospital during the period of September 1997 and September 1999 were chosen for this study. These patients were diagnosed as either acute or chronic hepatitis, but no serological markers of hepatitis viruses A-E were detected. Since TT virus (TTV), human parvovirus B19 (B19), SEN virus (SENV), and GB virus C/HGV were reported to be associated with hepatitis, attempts were made to detect the presence of these viruses in the sera of patients with non-A-E hepatitis by a nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) method. Also, more sensitive nPCR and RT-nPCR methods were used to determine HBV DNA and HCV RNA in these patients. Results derived from these analyses demonstrate that HBV DNA was detected in most of these patients (47/60, 78.3%), suggesting that HBV infection played a major role in occult non-A-E hepatitis and detection of HBV DNA by more sensitive PCR methods such as nPCR should be considered for diagnosis of HBV infection. In addition, HCV RNA was detected in three (5%) of these patients. However, GBV-C (HGV) RNA was not detected, and TTV, B19, and SENV appear not to be associated with non-A-E hepatitis, as the prevalence rates of these viruses in patients with non-A-E hepatitis were similar to those in patients with viral hepatitis A-E. The results from this study indicate that co-infection of TTV or B19 with HBV did not increase the severity of the disease.