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May 4, 1970

Homologous Serum Hepatitis—A True Experience

Author Affiliations

Martin County Health Department Williamston, NC

JAMA. 1970;212(5):881-882. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170180157030

To the Editor.—  The homologous serum hepatitis (HSH) virus has many curious characteristics but the most striking feature of the virus is its ability to produce disease like a phantom. If the HSH virus causes hepatitis, by intrahepatic replication, then why can't we recover the virus from the liver? The yellow fever virus and the HSH virus are the same size1 yet the yellow fever virus did not remain elusive. Yellow fever succumbed to medical research several decades ago.The HSH virus is transmitted primarily by parenteral inoculation2 yet the virus had worldwide distribution with the advent of parenteral inoculation. How did the virus achieve worldwide distribution? Why should nature impose such a restrictive means of transmittal for this virus?Two explanations are usually offered to explain the natural reservoir of the virus. The first proposes that there existed a maternal carrier state. The maternal carrier infected her