Fujiwara, S., Sharp, G. B., Cologne, J. B., Kusumi, S., Akahoshi, M., Kodama, K., Suzuki, G. and Yoshizawa, H. Prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus Infection among Atomic Bomb Survivors. Radiat. Res. 159, 780–786 (2003).
The aim of this study was to determine whether the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers increased with atomic bomb radiation dose, and whether radiation decreased the ability to clear HBV among the atomic bomb survivors. The study subjects were 6,121 participants in the Adult Health Study of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After adjustment for age, sex, city and potential confounders, the rates of seropositivity for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), indicating current HBV infections, and anti-hepatitis B core antibody, indicating either cured or current infections, increased with radiation dose. However, no relationship was observed between radiation and anti-hepatitis B surface antibody (indicating cured infection). The proportion of persons who were unable to clear the virus, as the proportion of HBsAg-positive persons among those ever infected by HBV (positive for HBsAg or surface or core hepatitis B antibody), increased significantly with radiation dose among those receiving blood transfusions. This proportion was not related to dose among those who reported no such transfusions. The findings may suggest a lower likelihood of clearance after HBV infection among those who were more likely to have been infected with HBV as adults after atomic bomb irradiation rather than as infants or adults prior to irradiation.