Detection of hepatitis B virus DNA and HBsAg from postmortem blood and bloodstains
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A large number of accidental virus infections occur in medical and non-medical workers exposed to infectious individuals and materials. We evaluated whether postmortem blood and bloodstains containing hepatitis B virus (HBV) are infectious. HBV-infected blood and bloodstains were stored for up to 60 days at room temperature and subsequently screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBV DNA. In addition, HBV-positive postmortem blood was added to a cell line and the production of HBV virions was examined over a period of 7 days. HBsAg and HBV DNA were detected in all samples stored for 60 days at room temperature. HBV-positive postmortem blood successfully infected the cell line and progeny viruses were produced for up to 6 days. Thus, it is crucial that due care is taken when handling not only living material infected with HBV, as well as other harmful viruses, but also blood or body fluids from cadavers or medical waste.
We are grateful to the blood sample donors. Language editing services were provided by ThinkSCIENCE, Tokyo, Japan.
Compliance with ethical standards
This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research C from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (no. 22590641).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the institutional review board of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (G-52).
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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