The epidemiology of infection with the recently discovered delta (δ) agent was assessed in Saudi Arabia from the prevalence of antibody to delta (anti-δ) in 488 HBsAg-seropositive subjects from various regions of the country. In the Riyadh area, anti-δ was prevalent in 22.2% of chronic hepatitis B patients compared to 7.9% and 6.7%in active hepatitis B patients and HBsAg carriers, respectively. Anti-δ was also prevalent in HBsAg carriers from Al-Hafouf (5.3%) and Najran (9.6%), but no anti-δ was detected in 40 HBsAg-positive polytransfused thalassémies and in 145 HBsAg carriers from Jaizan and Khaiber. It seems that δ infection is present in only certain regions of Saudi Arabia, and infection is possibly transmitted parenterally in these populations.

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