In order to appreciate the frequency of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in patients with glomerular diseases in France, a low endemic country, we reviewed the series of patients biopsied in the years 1983-1989 in 2 departments of nephrology differing by the characteristics of the population. In Saint-Brieuc, where the population is almost exclusively Caucasian, with nearly no immigrant, HBsAg was not detected in any of the 86 patients. In Paris, a large number of patients come from highly or intermediately endemic regions. HBsAg was detected in 3 of 209 patients, 2 of the 75 patients with membranous nephropathy and 1 of the 32 patients with minimal-change nephrotic syndrome. These patients came from Africa and Asia. Therefore, in low endemic countries, the role of HBV infection in the etiology of glomerulonephritis is minimal. But, because of the late severity of the disease, screening remains essential in patients belonging to the high-risk groups.

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