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Keywords:

  • gingival crevicular fluid;
  • hepatitis A;
  • hepatitis B;
  • hepatitis C;
  • health precaution;
  • literature review;
  • oral fluid;
  • saliva

J Oral Pathol Med (2012) 41: 505–516

Background and aims:  Viral hepatitis is a significant global health problem that, depending upon the virus, affects individuals of the developing and/or developed world. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in whether oral fluids can be considered as a source of viral hepatitis transmission and whether oral fluid, in particular, whole saliva, may be a useful source for viral detection as part of the diagnosis and monitoring of viral hepatitis. The aim of this article was to review current data concerning the possible carriage of the hepatitis A, B and C viruses within saliva and gingival crevicular fluid. Such knowledge will indicate if (i) oral fluid is a possible source of infection and (ii) whether oral fluid can be used for diagnosis and monitoring of viral hepatitis.

Data and sources:  A literature search was conducted using PubMed (Medline), EMBASE/Excerpta medica, the Cochrane database and Scopus. The results were limited to published material after 2000. Relevant material was evaluated and reviewed.

Conclusion:  There is some evidence that hepatitis viruses A, B and C are present in oral fluids, particularly whole saliva and gingival crevicular fluid and may thus be possible sources of viral detection in clinical diagnosis and monitoring. However, the data are inconsistent and warrant the need for well-planned longitudinal studies to explore the precise frequency of oral carriage of such viruses and to determine the virological and host factors that may influence the oral presence of hepatitis A, B and C viruses.