Researchers at Osaka National Hospital in Japan have found that the hepatitis B virus can reemerge in patients who were thought to be cured.
The finding is expected to have an impact on blood donations in Japan and other countries that allowed "cured" hepatitis B patients to donate blood.
Before this study, it was widely believed that the disease would not emerge in adults more than six months after their acute symptoms had been cured.
In making these findings, the researchers reexamined 14 former hepatitis B carriers whose livers have been functioning normally for two to nine years after contracting the disease and detected the virus in the blood of three of the former patients.
An examination of liver tissue from nine of the 14 former carriers revealed that all had the virus and seven were suffering from slight inflammation of the liver.
According to the researchers, this is the first time the virus was found to have survived in former patients who underwent post-treatment check-ups.
Other sources: Yomiuri Shimbun