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Ann Lab Med. 2019 Jan;39(1):81-85. English. Original Article.
Alzahrani FM , Muzaheed , Shaikh SS , Alomar AI , Acharya S , Elhadi N .
Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Transfusion-transmissible hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major problem worldwide. Recently, confirmatory nucleic acid tests (NATs) for HBV DNA have been employed in several countries. We assessed the prevalence and yearly trends of HBV infection in blood donors in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, screening for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), antibody against HBV core antigen (anti-HBc), and HBV DNA.


Between 2011 and 2015, a total of 22,842 donors were screenedfor HBsAg, anti-HBc, and HBV DNA using the HBsAg Qualitative II kit (Abbott, Ireland Diagnostics Division, Sligo, Ireland), ARCHITECT Anti-hepatitis B core antigen antibody (HBc) II Assay kit (Abbott GmbH & Co. KG, Wiesbaden, Germany), and NAT Procleix Ultrio Elite Assay kit (Grifols Diagnostic Solutions Inc., Los Angeles, CA, USA), respectively.


A total of 739 (3.24%) donors were HbsAg(+), anti-HBc(+), or HBV DNA(+); 63 (0.28%) were HbsAg(+), anti-HBc(+), and HBV DNA(+). Twelve (0.05%) were anti-HBc(+) and HBV DNA(+) but HBsAg(−); they were considered to have occult infection. Further, 664 (2.91%) were HBsAg(−) but anti-HBc(+), indicating chronic or resolving infection. HBV prevalence increased significantly from 2011 to 2012, increased marginally till 2013, and showed a decreasing trend from 2013 (P>0.05).


The five-year prevalence of HBV infection among blood donors in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia (3.24%) is lower than that reported for other regions in the country. The occult HBV infection rate of 0.05% emphasizes the importance of NATs in isolating potential infectious blood units.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.