ISSN 2147-9720 | E-ISSN 2148-4279
Original Article
Prevalence of hepatitis B and C infections in rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis: A multicenter countrywide study
1 Department of Rheumatology, İstanbul Bilim University Faculty of Medicine, İstanbul, Turkey  
2 Department of Radiology, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey  
3 Department of Rheumatology, Gaziantep University Faculty of Medicine, Şahinbey Medical Center, Gaziantep, Turkey  
4 Department of Rheumatology, Kocaeli University Faculty of Medicine, Kocaeli, Turkey  
5 Department of Rheumatology, Selçuklu University, Faculty of Medicine, Konya, Turkey  
6 Department of Rheumatology, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey  
7 Department of Internal Medicine, Eskişehir Osmangazi University Faculty of Medicine, Eskişehir, Turkey  
8 Department of Microbiology, Diyarbakır Training and Research Hospital, Diyarbakir, Turkey  
9 Department of Gastroenterology, Diyarbakır Training and Research Hospital, Diyarbakir, Turkey  
10 Department of Gastroenterology, Acıbadem University Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey  
Eur J Rheumatol 2014; 1: 51-54
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheumatol.2014.018
Key Words: Hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis

Objective: Immunosuppressive therapies, especially tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors, are frequently used in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS). These therapies can induce viral reactivation in concurrent hepatitis B virus (HBV)- or hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive patients. On the other hand, the prevalence of HBV and HCV infections is not exactly known in RA and AS patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of HBV and HCV infections in RA and AS patients.


Material and Methods: A group of 1517 RA and 886 AS consecutive patients followed by six different rheumatology outpatient clinics of Turkey were recruited in this study. The prevalence of HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) and HCV antibody (anti-HCV) were retrospectively investigated.


Results: The mean age was 49.0±13.2 years in RA and 37.3±10.5 years in AS patients. HBsAg prevalence was 35 (2.3%) in RA and 27 (3%) in AS patients. Anti-HCV prevalence was 17 (1.1%) and 10 (1.1%), respectively. In the RA group, both HBsAg and anti-HCV positive patients were older than negative ones (p<0.05), and the highest prevalence was found in those 60-69 years (p<0.05).


Conclusion: In previous national data, the prevalence of HBsAg has been reported as 3.99% and shown to increase with age. In this study we have found a lower HBV infection prevalence in both RA and AS patients according to Turkish national data. This result may explain by being younger age of our patients. In another conclusion, lower prevalence could be related to, joint complaints may less consulted  to Rheumatologist in HBV positive.

Key Words
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