Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) Infections are
important and common causes of liver disease in end-stage renal failure (ESRF) in
patients on haemodialysis (HD). HBV is less endemic than HCV in Egypt (ranges from
2%–7%). Although, the prevalence of HBV in haemodialysis patients has decreased
significantly due to HBV vaccine and screening of blood donors, the immunosuppressive
nature of renal disease often leads to chronicity of the HBV infection and an opportunity
for nosocomial spread of the infection among dialysis patients. Haemodialysis patients
are more risky to develop occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) due to an increased number
of blood transfusions, frequent invasive procedures, difficulty in diagnosis of occult
hepatitis B infection (OBI) and immunosuppression. Occult hepatitis B infection (OBI)
is defined by the presence of HBV DNA in serum or liver tissue in the absence of
HBsAg. Objective: to study the prevalence of occult HBV infection in HCV-positive
and HCV negative patients on regular hemodialysis from Upper Egypt. Methodology:
One Hundred hemodialysis patients with negative HBsAg were included in the study.
These patients were divided into two groups: HCV positive and HCV negative, based on
the results of anti-HCV by ELISA and HCV-RNA by PCR. HBV-DNA was studied
using the real-time PCR method in both groups. Results: HBV DNA was detected in 7
of the 100 patients (7%) and HBcAb was detected in 22 patients (22%). There were no
statistically significant differences in the age, sex, duration of hemodialysis, biochemical
parameters, HBcAb, or HBV DNA between patients with and without HCV infection.
Conclusion: The prevalence of occult HBV infection (OBI) among Egyptian
hemodialysis patients is 7 % with no significant difference in the prevalence of OBI
between hemodialysis patients with or without HCV infection and we suggest screening
of all HD patients for OBI by testing anti-HBc and HBV DNA