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J Hepatol. 1999;31 Suppl 1:96-100.

Mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis C virus.

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  • 1Institute of Virology, University of Milan, Italy.


The rate of mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is approximately 5%, but is higher when the mother is co-infected with HIV Vertical transmission is restricted to infants whose mothers are viraemic. The risk of transmission increases with increasing maternal viral load but a specific cut-off value predicting infection cannot be defined. There is no specific HCV genotype which is preferentially transmitted. The mode of delivery (caesarean versus vaginal) does not appear to influence the rate of transmission, but firm evidence is lacking. There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of HCV transmission through breast feeding. Pregnancy is not contra-indicated in HCV-infected women. Without drugs to treat established infections in mothers and infants and interventions to prevent vertical transmission, routine HCV screening is not recommended in pregnant women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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