The Prevalence of Hepatitis Delta Virus in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B and Its Association with Risk Factors

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Background: Hepatitis B infection is a serious health problem and two billion people worldwide are infected with the virus. The hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a satellite virus. Hepatitis D virus infection in HBsAg carriers can be present as a simultaneous and acute infection. Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of HDV in patients with chronic hepatitis B and its association with risk factors. Methods: In this descriptive study, 74 patients with chronic HBV infection were selected from patients that had referred to the Clinical Lab of Blood Transfusion Organization. All patients were positive for HBsAg for more than six months and anti-HBc. All samples were negative for HIV and HCV. An anti-HDV test was performed on HBsAg-positive specimens by the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method. Also, HBV-real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing was done to determine the viral load. Results: In this study, 74 HBsAg positive patients with a mean age of 50.22 ± 15.09 years were studied. Five (6.8%) patients had anti-HDV antibodies. Furthermore, 60% of the patients with HDV had risk factors, such as addiction, family history of hepatitis B, and a history of surgery. Maximal viral load in plasma samples of patients with anti-HDV antibodies, 531 IU/mL, was determined. Conclusions: For prevention of HDV transmission, all patients of chronic hepatitis B with low-level viral load should be evaluated for hepatitis D infection. Also, for determining the relationship between HDV infections with its risk factors, another study with a larger sample size should be performed.