Viral hepatitis in Colombia: A study of the “hepatitis of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta”

Authors

  • Karin E. Ljunggren,

    1. Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital, S-22185 Lund, Sweden
    2. Laboratorio de Inmunologia, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
    3. Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20852
    4. the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
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  • Manuel E. Patarroyo,

    1. Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital, S-22185 Lund, Sweden
    2. Laboratorio de Inmunologia, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
    3. Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20852
    4. the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
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  • Ronald Engle,

    1. Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital, S-22185 Lund, Sweden
    2. Laboratorio de Inmunologia, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
    3. Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20852
    4. the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
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  • Robert H. Purcell,

    1. Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital, S-22185 Lund, Sweden
    2. Laboratorio de Inmunologia, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
    3. Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20852
    4. the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
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  • John L. Gerin Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital, S-22185 Lund, Sweden
    2. Laboratorio de Inmunologia, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
    3. Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20852
    4. the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    • Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, 5640 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20852
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Abstract

The prevalences of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis delta virus and hepatitis A virus infections were studied in two regions of Colombia. In Bogota, 10 of 53 patients with acute hepatitis were HBsAg positive and three of these were hepatitis D antigen positive. Hepatitis A virus was the major cause of acute hepatitis in this group. In 366 healthy controls from Bogota, 1.6% were HBsAg positive and 7.1% had at least one marker of HBV infection. In northern Colombia, individuals from three villages with outbreaks of the fulminant “hepatitis of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta” were tested. The prevalences of HBsAg (1.8 to 23%) and HBV infection (35 to 93%) were generally high and varied from village to village; 60% of the HBsAg carriers in one village were positive for antibody to hepatitis D antigen, and two individuals in the outbreak area had circulating hepatitis D antigen. The findings suggest that HBV and the associated hepatitis delta virus are etiologic factors in the “hepatitis of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta”.

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