Hepatitis Non A Non B: A Newly Recognized Old Disease

  • Harvey J. Alter
Part of the Hepatology book series (H, volume 5)


Viral hepatitis represented a major public health problem during World War II and the number of soldiers incapacitated by this disease called forth an intensive effort to elucidate the routes of transmission and potential means of prevention. Studies of epidemic hepatitis among soldiers in the Middle East and Africa and of hepatitis traced to yellow fever vaccine clearly distinguished two epidemiologic forms which came to be known as infectious (type A) and serum (type B) hepatitis. The former was an explosive, epidemic disease found to be transmitted by the fecal-oral route and the latter a more indolently transmitted disease borne primarily by parenteral inoculation of virus. The distinction of these two clinical entities was further established by epidemiologic studies at the Willowbrook State School (1). A patient, “M.S.”, developed two sequential episodes of hepatitis, one having a short incubation period similar to infectious hepatitis (MS-1) and the other, a long incubation period similar to serum hepatitis (MS-2). MS-1 serum consistently produced short incubation disease and MS-2, long incubation disease, when administered to volunteers. Later, following discovery of the Australia antigen (2), it could be shown that MS-1 disease and natural epidemics of infectious hepatitis were consistently Australia antigen-negative, whereas MS-2 disease and many cases of parenterally induced hepatitis were Australia antigen-positive (3). The distinction of two forms of human viral hepatitis was thus unequivocal on clinical, epidemiologic and serologic grounds.


NANB Hepatitis Immune Serum Globulin Transmissible Agent Chronic Carrier State Chronic NANB Hepatitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harvey J. Alter
    • 1
  1. 1.Immunology Section, Blood Bank Department, Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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