Hepatitis B virus infection among patients with rheumatoid arthritis in Suez Canal University Hospital

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Endemic and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.

2 Department of Rheumatology and Physical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.

3 Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt.


Background: About 350 million individuals are considered having hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections worldwide, and 6.8% of cases have been observed of a reactivation of HBV triggered by immunosuppressive medications. Due to HBV reactivation, biologic or non-biological Synthetic antirheumatic disease-modifying drugs may be involved. For rheumatologists, HBV infection is a big concern. Patients and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at Rheumatology outpatient clinic at Suez Canal University Hospital, Ismailia, during the period from 22 of January to 30 of July 2020 and included 200 patients with a history of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Patients were asked about their demographics and possible risk factors, and blood samples were collected for detection of HBV markers. Results: Evidence of present or past HBV infection with positive anti-HBc was found in 12% of patients (n=24). Among them, 4 patients had Overt HBV infection with positive HBsAg (2%) and another 4 patients had Occult hepatitis B, with negative HBsAg and positive HBV DNA (2%). Regarding HBV vaccination status, we found that 4 patients (16.7%) of HBc Ab positive patients were vaccinated and 69 patients (39.2%) of HBc Ab negative patients were vaccinated. Conclusion: This research indicates that HBV among rheumatoid arthritis patients is comparatively prevalent. Moreover, HBV carriers experience rheumatological symptoms. Risk factors for HBV infection in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis included history of needle stick injury, dental visits, and prior surgical procedures.


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