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Keywords:

  • chronic viral hepatitis;
  • acute viral hepatitis;
  • viral hepatitis coinfections

Abstract: The routes of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus transmission are quite similar and coexistence of both viruses in one patient is not a rare phenomenon. Until now, the natural course of liver diseases induced by coinfections has not been well documented and the mechanisms of interaction between the two viruses and the human host have not been fully clarified. We report the case of a patient suffering from chronic hepatitis due to hepatitis C virus who developed an acute hepatitis B virus superinfection. Serum hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid became undetectable by reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction at diagnosis of acute hepatitis B virus infection. At the same time, there was a striking increase in the serum concentrations of the antibodies against C22 and C33c hepatitis C virus antigens. Four months after clinical resolution of the acute hepatitis, hepatitis B surface antigen was undetectable in serum and three months later antibodies against hepatitis B surface antigen appeared. Two years after acute hepatitis B virus infection, the patient has had no relapse of markers for viral replication of hepatitis B virus. Transaminases are within the reference range and hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid is undetectable in both serum and liver tissue. We hypothesize that acute hepatitis B virus infection stimulated a specific humoral response against hepatitis C virus as well as triggering non-specific defense mechanisms which finally eliminated both viruses.