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 ::  Abstract
 ::  Introduction
 ::  Material and Methods
 ::  Results and Disc...
 ::  References

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Year : 1977  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 186-188

Hepatitis B antigen and venereal diseases (A preliminary study)

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, K.E.M. Hospital, Bombay-400012, India
2 B.G.R.C. Unit, Haffkine Institute, Bombay-400 012., India

Correspondence Address:
R S Shetty
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, K.E.M. Hospital, Bombay-400012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 615266

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 :: Abstract 

226 volunteer donors and 320 cases of syphilis (with positive VDRL test) were screened for hepatitis B antigen (HBs Ag, Australia antigen). The incidence of hepatitis B antigen in these groups was 0.88% and nil respectively. The present data, though small in size do not indicate any positive correlation between HBsAg and syphilis-as claimed by other workers.

How to cite this article:
Shetty R S, Bapat J P, Joshi S H, Baxi A J. Hepatitis B antigen and venereal diseases (A preliminary study). J Postgrad Med 1977;23:186-8

How to cite this URL:
Shetty R S, Bapat J P, Joshi S H, Baxi A J. Hepatitis B antigen and venereal diseases (A preliminary study). J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1977 [cited 2022 Dec 10];23:186-8. Available from:

 :: Introduction Top

Large number of diseases have been investigated for the presence of hepatitis B antigen (HB S Ag, Australia antigen) following the discovery by Blumberg and his colleagues. [6],[13] The age old hypothesis that serum hepatitis (type B) is trans­mitted through the parenteral route only has been belied after Krugman and his associates showed clearly that hepatitis F infection can be transmitted through fae­cal oral route also. [7] Recent studies [8],[9] have suggested that HB S Ag and/or hepa­titis B viral infection can be produced by sexual route. While Vranckx [15] and others have obtained evidence of a high rate of HB S Ag positivity (9.1%) among the cases of syphilis, there are other reports, [1],[14] suggesting negative correlation of HB S Ag and venereal diseases.

We have reported HB S Ag status in a number of disorders including viral hepa­titis, cirrhosis, leukemia, lepromatous leprosy and renal diseases previous­ly. [4],[5],[12]

The incidence of HB S Ag and anti HB S Ag in patients suffering from syphilis from Bombay is obtained in this prelimi­nary communication.

 :: Material and Methods Top

Blood samples were collected for the HB s Ag and anti HB S Ag detection from 226 healthy volunteer donors and 320 patients suffering from syphilis. Serologic tests specific for syphilis were done ac­cording to the standard routine testing (VDRL test).

Since the number of samples investi­gated is small no attempt has been made to classify the disorders. Clear separated serum was used for screening of HB S Ag and anti HB S Ag by counter immuno­electrophoresis (CEP) as outlined by Bapat et al. [2] Positive and negative con­trols were used with each batch of test samples.

 :: Results and Discussion Top

No positive sample for HB s Ag was demonstrated among 320 patients of vary­ing severity of syphilis. Under identical conditions, the healthy volunteer donors showed an incidence of 0.88%, which is in accord with earlier reports from this laboratory and others. [3],[4],[5] Absence of HB s Ag among patients of syphilis in the present study is rather surprising. A number of reports on the association of HB s Ag with venereal diseases including syphilis have appeared. [8],[9],[15] Positive association of high incidence of HB s Ag in venereal diseases have been shown by some workers-while a negative correla­tion was also reported. [1],[14] The decreased cell mediated immunity has been held responsible for higher incidence of HB s Ag in several investigations. [10] Rea­sons for the absence of HB s Ag in the present study are obscure. However two possibilities exist.

1. It is possible that HB s Ag may have been present during the early stages of disease and may have disappeared at the time of testing.

2. The HB s Ag may be present in a low titre and may have thus escaped the detection by CEP technique which is comparatively insensitive when compared to haemagglutination assay (HA) [3] or radio-immuno-assay (RIA). [11] This postu­late has bearing on our previous work wherein we have shown that HB s Ag in the later stages of viral hepatitis is not detectable. [12] Anti-HB s Ag was also not detected in any of the samples. Present study indicates that a large sample of venereal disease may have to be investi­gated using more sensitive techniques like HA and RIA-in order to come to definite conclusion on HB s Ag status in venereal diseases.

 :: References Top

1.Adam, E.. Hollinger, B., Melnick, J. L., Duenas. A. and Rawls. W. E.: Type B hepatitis antigen and antibody among pro­stitutes and nuns-A study of possible venereal transmission, J. Infect. Dis. 129: 317-321, 1974.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Bapat, J. P., Baxi, A. J. and Kulkarni, K. V.: A rapid counter-immuno-electro­phoresis technique for the detection o' Australia antigen and alpha-protein on the same slide. Ind. J. Med. Res., 61: 1036­1938. 1973.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Bapat, J . P., Kulkarni, S. K., Baxi, A. J. and Kulkarni, K. V.: Hepatitis B antigen detection by reversed passive hemagglu­tination method-comparative data. Ind. J. Med. Res.. 65: 766-769, 1977.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Baxi, A. J., Kulkarni, K. V., Patankar, V. M. and Bellare, J. A : Australia anti­gen. hepatitis and liver function-Study group on Australia antigen and seminar on infectious hepatitis. Ind. Council of Med. Research, Tech. Rep. Series No. 24, pp. 24-28, 1973.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.5 Bellare. J. A., Kulkarni. K. V. and Baxi, A. J.: Liver function tests in relation to Hepatitis B (Australia) antigen in hepati­tis, leukemia and leprosy. Bull. Haffkine Institute, 2: 120-122, 1974.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Blumberg, B. S., Alter, H. J. and Visnichs, A.: New antigen in leukemia sera. J. Amer. Med. Asso., 191: 541-546, 1965.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Blumberg, B. S.. Gerstley, B. J. S., Hun­gerford, D. A., London, W, T. and Sutnick. A. I.: A serum antigen (Australia antigen) in Down's syndrome, Leukemia and hepa­titis. Ann. Intern. Med., 66: 924-930, 1967.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Fulford, K. W. M., Dane, D. S., Catterall, R. D., Woof. R. and Denning, J. V.: Aus­tralia antigen and antibody among patients attending a clinic for sexually transmitted disease. Lancet. 1: 1470-1473, 1973.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Jeffries, D. J., James, W, H., Jefferiss. F. J. G., MacCleod, K. G. and Willcox. R. R.: Australia antigen (hepatitis asso­ciated) in patients attending a venereal disease clinic. Brit. Med. J.. 2: 455-456, 1973.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Kacaki, J., Schuurs, A. H. W. M.. Wolters G. and Lalosevie, J.: Hepatitis B Ag i_i venereal diseases. Lancet, 2: 363-364. 1975.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Kulkarni, S. K.. Bapat, J, P., Baxi, A. J., Kulkarni, K. V. Chanderkar, N. G. and Gaitonde. B. B.: Evaluation of Radio-im­munodetection method for hepatitis B antigen (Australia antigen). Bull. Haff. Inst., 3: 107-110, 1975.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Kulkarni, K . V.. Baxi. A. J., Patankar. V. M. and Das. P. C.: Studies on Australia antigen in India, Vox Sang., 22: 510-518, 1972.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Krugman, S. and Giles, J. P.: Viral hepa­titis-Natural history of disease. Quoted from: "Hepatitis and Blood transfusion". Proceedings of a symposium held at the University o` California. Edited by Vyas G. N., Perkins, H. A. and Schmid, R., pp. 9-18, 1972.  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Szmuness, W., Prince. A. M., Hirsch. R. L, and Betsy Brotman: Familial clustering o, hepatits B infection. New Eng. J. Med., 289: 1162-1166, 1973.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Vranckx. R.: Hepatitis B Ag. and sero­logic incidence of syphilis. Lancet, 1: 1193, 1975.  Back to cited text no. 15    


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