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November 4, 1974

Hepatitis B Transmitted by a Human Bite

Author Affiliations

From the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Center For Disease Control, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the Infectious Disease Section of the California State Department of Health (Dr. MacQuarrie), The Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory, California State Department of Health (Dr. Forghani), Berkeley, and the Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology), Southern California Permanente Medical Group (Dr. Wolochow), San Diego, Calif.

JAMA. 1974;230(5):723-724. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240050051028

HEPATITIS B, formerly termed serum hepatitis, is transmitted by inoculation of blood or blood products containing hepatitis B antigen (HB Ag). Recent experimental and epidemiologic evidence suggests that disease can be transmitted by person-to-person contact (sexual, blood-oral) and by the fecal-oral route.1,2 In some cases of HB Ag-positive hepatitis, a history of inoculation or transfusion of blood or blood products is lacking, and evidence for other routes of infection has been sought. Hepatitis B antigen has been demonstrated by various methods in the urine, feces,3 saliva,4 and semen5 with and without evidence of trace amounts of blood.

Report of a Case  On Oct 18, 1972, a 52-year-old woman reported to a clinic complaining of nausea, weakness, loss of appetite for one week, dark urine, and jaundice. Liver function studies confirmed the diagnosis of hepatitis. She had not eaten raw shellfish, had never had a blood transfusion,