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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1976 October; 32(4): 572–574.
PMCID: PMC170308

Hepatitis B surface antigen in saliva, impetiginous lesions, and the environment in two remote Alaskan villages.


A study was conducted in an area of hepatitis B hyperendemicity to determin whether contact with infective bodily secretions or contaminated environmental surfaces could be involved in the transmission of the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B surface antigen was detected in gingival swab, saliva, and impetiginous lesion exudate samples from children. Hepatitis B surface antigen also was found in swab samples of surfaces frequently touched or placed in the mouth. In the absence of classical exposure to infectious blood or blood products, these findings suggested that, in a crowded home environment, saliva and cutaneous exudates containing hepatitis B virus may play a role in the transmission of hepatitis B.

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