Occult hepatitis B virus infection (OBI), characterized by detection of HBV DNA (≤ 200 copies/µl) in the serum or tissues of subjects who have negative test for HBsAg has become a challenge to blood transfusion services. We present a 24-year old, male, repeat blood donor at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria with viral load of 31379 copies/ul but negative to hepatitis B surface antigen. Hematological and biochemical parameters of the blood donor showed acceptable ranges except abnormally low hemoglobin levels. Serologic markers of HBV infection showed that the donor was positive for hepatitis B surface antibodies only. Gene sequencing and phylogenetic studies showed that the isolate belonged to the HBV genotype E with gene sequences similar to an isolate from Sudan. The study hereby recommends vigilant blood donors selection/recruitment, adequate screening as well as vaccination of populace with HBV vaccines.
Published Date: 2019-11-22; Received Date: 2019-11-01