September 16, 2013

Salivary Test Available For Hepatitis B

Viral hepatitis is one of the world's most common viral illnesses.  The role of saliva in the transmission of Hepatitis B makes dental personnel particularly vulnerable to this infection.  A study in Compendium, 3/2012, compared a group of known seropositive hepatitis B patients to a control group without the disease.  The HBsAg (hepatitis specific antigen) was found in the saliva of 74.9% of the seropositive patients.  The saliva in the control group was accurate in 100% of the patients.  While HBsAg is considered the hallmark of HBV infection, serum collection and testing is potentially infectious and time consuming.  In addition, up to 80% of infected patients may have only subclinical symptoms.  The conclusions of this study were that saliva collection is easy and non-invasive and an accurate method of detection of the hepatitis B antigen and is a promising tool for diagnostic studies. 

Salivary diagnostics is becoming a more frequent method for finding disease. 

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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