Characteristics of occult hepatitis B virus infection in the Solomon Islands
International Journal of Molecular Medicine
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is highly endemic in the Solomon Islands. However, little is known about the status of occult HBV infection in the Solomon Islands. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of occult HBV infection and its clinical and virological features in the community of Solomon Islands. Blood samples were collected from a total of 564 asymptomatic individuals aged over 18 years in the Western province. The samples used in the present study consisted of 200 samples
... d of 200 samples from 108 males and 92 females (mean age, 37.4 years; range, 18-71 years) that were randomly selected among the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative samples from all the participants enrolled in this study. HBV-dNA was detected by real-time PcR in 25 (12.5%) of the 200 HBsAg-negative samples. Most of the HBV-dNA-positive individuals were infected with wild-type HBV, and only 3 strains demonstrated specific amino acid substitutions (P121X, T123N, c138S, P142S and d144E) in the α determinant region. In conclusion, occult HBV infection was documented in 12.5% of individuals that demonstrated serologic evidence of resolved HBV infection in this study. The prevalence of occult infection was also influenced by ethnicity; it was more prevalent in Melanesians than Micronesians. In addition, occult HBV infection demonstrated a weak association with the S-variants.