The occurrence of e antigen in 44 patients with acute hepatitis B was studied in order to determine if e was related to the outcome of the illness. In 13.6% of cases e was detected, and in none of these did the carrier state develop. The HBsAg carrier state developed in 4.6% of the patients and in none of these was e antigen detected. Anti-e was detected in only three cases. Only in the very early acute phase of illness e was detected and the time serum samples were taken for the detection of e was considered to be very significant. The occurrence of e was not found to affect the duration of HBs antigenaemia in those patients who recovered completely.
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