The husbands of 68 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carrier-state wives were tested for the presence of hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) and antigen (HBsAg) to assess possible transmission of HBsAg. Eight (11.8%) of the 68 husbands gave negative results for HBsAg and 22 (32.4%) positive results for HBsAb. Furthermore, eight (26.7%) of 30 husbands with presumed HBsAg transmission from their wives developed acute viral hepatitis after marriage, and e antigen (eAg) was detected in the serum from all eight wives. Although HbsAg was not detected in specimens of sputum and cervical mucus of carrier-state women by reverse passive haemagglutination, it was detected in the vaginal discharge of women during days 1--6 of the menstrual cycle at a rate ranging from 20--60%. Thus, sexual transmission of HBsAg seems to occur, particularly if sexual contact takes place during or immediately after menstruation.
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