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Journal Articles Blood Transfusion Year : 2019

Occult hepatitis B infection among blood donors from Yaoundé, Cameroon


Background In Cameroon, the prevention of hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission by blood transfusion is still only based on hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) screening. However, occult HBV infection (OBI) characterised by the absence of detectable HBsAg and low level of viral DNA remains a potential threat for blood safety. The prevalence of OBI was investigated in blood donors from Yaoundé to provide evidence-based recommendations to improve HBV blood safety. Material and methods Blood donations from August 1st, 2016 to March 31st, 2017 were routinely screened for HBV, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections (Murex HBsAg Version 3, Murex HIV Ag/Ab Combination, and Murex HCV Ag/Ab Combination [DiaSorin]). Additional HBV investigations were performed, including hepatitis B core antibody ([HBc] Monolisa Anti-HBc PLUS; BIO-RAD) and HBV DNA tested in minipools of two samples using the quantitative Cobas Taqman HBV assay (Roche; LoQ: 6 IU/mL) and HBV DNA genotyping by sequencing. Results Of 1,162 donations analysed, 91 (7.8%) were reactive for HBsAg. All of them were also anti-HBc positive. Among the 1,071 HBsAg negative samples, 522 (48.7%) were reactive for anti-HBc. Six (0.56% of all donations) samples fulfilled the consensus definition of OBI and showed low HBV DNA loads (all <6 IU/mL). Following nested polymerase chain reaction amplifications, HBV DNA sequences were obtained for 4 of these samples (1 nearly whole genome [3123 nt], 2 Pre-S/S regions [1,356 nt], and 1 S region [445 nt]). Phylogenetic analysis identified genotype E in all samples. Discussion Around 1 in 100 Cameroonian blood donors screened who resulted HBsAg negative and anti-HBc positive carried occult HBV infection. HBsAg alone for screening prospective donors is not sufficient to eliminate the risk of HBV transfusion transmission in Cameroon, and because anti-HBc screening does not seem to be feasible without compromising blood supply, implementation of HBV nucleic acid testing could be considered when possible.



Dates and versions

inserm-03555660 , version 1 (03-02-2022)



Diderot Fopa, Daniel Candotti, Claude Tagny‐tayou, Camille Doux, Dora Mbanya, et al.. Occult hepatitis B infection among blood donors from Yaoundé, Cameroon. Blood Transfusion, 2019, 17 (6), pp.403-408. ⟨10.2450/2019.0182-19⟩. ⟨inserm-03555660⟩


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