The discovery by Blumberg et al in 1967 of the association between Australia (Au) antigen and viral hepatitis1 introduced a serological test of value in diagnosis. It now seems certain that this antigen is more specifically associated with serum hepatitis, as Prince2 demonstrated in 1968 and Giles et al3 in 1969. Moreover, the transmission of serum hepatitis by the oral route has been confirmed by the experiments of Krugman and Giles4 in 1970. We studied sporadic cases of viral hepatitis in hospitalized children and adults and observed cases in closed communities (a preventorium and two sanatoriums), where the long stay facilitated epidemiological study.
Materials and Methods
We examined sera from 315 hospitalized patients (210 children, 105 adults). Although the main focus of the study was viral hepatitis, in order to obtain specimens of sera at the onset of the disease, we obtained specimens in all cases of