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The prevalence and impact of brucellosis in patients with hepatitis delta virus infection: inside the Brucella outbreak with cirrhosis.

INTRODUCTION: Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection is a serious health problem leading to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Despite evidence that zoonotic infections are associated with end-stage liver disease, brucellosis in patients with delta hepatitis related to liver disease has not been well characterized. So, we examined this relationship using recent hospital-based data.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We analyzed data from 96 delta hepatitis patients (mean age: 52.5 ±12.8 years; 50 male; 52 cirrhotics) and 117 (mean age: 50.4 ±7 years; 60 male) control subjects who were selected from patients with splenomegaly. The Brucella Wright test in connection with blood culture was used to detect active Brucella infection. Demographic features, laboratory data, results of ultrasonographic examination of the abdomen and Wright agglutination titers were compared between groups.

RESULTS: There were 9 (9%) patients with active brucellosis in delta hepatitis patients. Compared to the control group, there was a statistically significant difference between groups in terms of having active brucellosis (9 vs. 2 patients; p < 0.001). Higher MELD scores were also associated with active Brucella infection (p < 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with chronic hepatitis D related cirrhosis (CHD-C) were at risk of developing brucellosis requiring hospitalization. Higher Wright titers among patients with more advanced liver disease may reflect a unique phenomenon that requires further investigation to determine underlying causative factors.

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