Etiology of acute hepatitis in drug addicts

M. Buti, R. Esteban, R. Jardi, J. Guardia

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Addicts that regularly take drugs by the parenteral route constitute a high risk group for the development of acute hepatitis. Numerous bouts of acute hepatitis, produced by different etiological agents, are frequent in this population. To gain knowledge on the etiology of acute hepatitis in drug addicts in Spain, we prospectively studied 122 cases with the following serological markers: HBsAg, anti-HBc-IgM, HD-Ag, anti-HD, and anti-HAV-IgM. The criteria for a positive serological diagnosis were as follows: acute A hepatitis: positive anti-HAV-IgM; acute B hepatitis: positive anti-HBc-IgM; acute B and D hepatitis: positive anti-HBc and HD-Ag or anti-HD; acute D hepatitis: negative anti-HBc-IgM and HBsAg along with positive anti-HD and/or HD-Ag, an NonA, NonB hepatitis: negativity of the former markers. The frequency of acute hepatitis infection was as follows: 43 cases (35%) of simultaneous B and D hepatitis, 40 cases (33%) of acute B hepatitis, 31 cases (25%) of NonA, NonB hepatitis, 7 cases (6%) of D hepatitis, and one (0.8) of A hepatitis. The sequential application of the new serological markers permits the etiological diagnosis of acute hepatitis in drug addicts and prevents diagnostic errors, which would have taken place in 18% of the cases from the present series.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-14
JournalGastroenterologia y Hepatologia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1986


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