Sera from 5171 inpatients have been tested for HBAg and HBAb during the 18-month period ending in December 1972. The incidence of HBAg (0·116%) was similar to that in blood donors (0·119%) in the same area, being tested for the first time by the same technique. By contrast the incidence of HBAb in patients (0·271%) was significantly higher than in donors (0·103%). A possible mode of infection was identified in three of six HBAg-positive patients and in seven of 12 HBAb patients. None of the positive patients was regarded as `high risk' when admitted to hospital. The study thus emphasizes the need to regard all specimens as potentially infective.
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