We have studied prospectively 178 subjects exposed to hepatitis B and 120 haemodialysed patients for the presence of HB antigen, e antigen and DNA polymerase as well as for anti-HB and anti-HB antibodies. The results suggest that the DNA polymerase assay enables us to diagnose hepatitis B earlier than the radioimmunoassay for HB and that DNA polymerase might be present in the blood in the absence of HB in cases of confirmed hepatitis B. A positive correlation between e antigen and DNA polymerase was observed in 83% of the patients on haemodialysis who developed hepatitis B but only in 9% of normal patients developing the same disease.


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