News from Hepatitis Week of Feb. 1, 2004/ Vol. 4 No. 05
Study: Hepatitis B DNA Can Be Transmitted Through Saliva

Saliva is a vehicle of transmission of hepatitis B DNA, according to a study reported in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Virology.

Researchers at Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands suspected that saliva may be an "unexpected" vehicle of hepatitis B virus DNA transmission since 20 percent of acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections remain unexplained.

In their study of 27 chronic hepatitis B patients who sought treatment at a single clinic in the Netherlands, the researchers evaluated levels of hepatitis B virus DNA in saliva and compared them with hepatitis B virus DNA levels measured in serum.

Noting that their study contains the first precise measurements of such hepatitis B virus DNA levels, the researchers found a clear correlation between the two.

"Our findings show that saliva is a source of hepatitis B virus DNA," concluded the researchers, who noted that their findings offer further insight in the routes of transmission of hepatitis B virus infection.

Other sources: Journal of Clinical Virology 2004 Feb;29(2):92-4